Title: Moon Over Manifest

Author: Clare Vanderpool

Publication Date: 2010

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Price: $16.99

Number of Pages: 368

Awards: Newbery Medal

Genre/Subgenre: Historical fiction, coming-of-age fiction

Popularity: 5/5
Quality: 5/5

Reader’s Annotation:

Sent by her father to Manifest, Kansas for the summer, Abilene Tucker searches for answers about her father’s early life.


Abilene Tucker is sent to Manifest, Kansas when her father receives a railway job and cannot take her with him. Because Manifest is where her father spend some of his youth, Abilene sets out to find out about his time there and what he was like as a young man. Abilene accidentally finds herself in the home of Miss Sadie the town diviner, who begins telling Abilene a story about Manifest at the end of WWI – a story that involves spies, murder, and a pretend quarantine. Through Miss Sadie, her temporary guardian Shady, and archived issues of “Hattie Mae’s News Auxiliary,” Abilene pieces together the story of her father and how he fits into the narrative of Manifest, learning about herself in the process.


Although it starts off a bit slow, Moon Over Manifest quickly captivated me. I really enjoyed the variety of quirky characters in the novel – Clare Vanderpool did an excellent job developing even the smallest characters.

Why I Chose the Book:

I was intrigued by the historical eras featured in the novel and by the jump back and forth between these two eras.


A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck

Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs by Betty G. Birney

Leo and the Lesser Lion by Sandra Forrester

Penny from Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm

Book Talk Ideas

One of the key narrative features in Moon Over Manifest is “Hattie Mae’s News Auxiliary,” a newspaper column that details the latest news and gossip in Manifest. Have students or patrons write their own “News Auxiliary.”

Discussion Questions

1. Throughout the novel, Abilene tries to find out information about her father as a young man in Manifest. What clues does the author give about his identity? Were you surprised by who he was?

2. The novel jumps back and forth between Manifest in 1918 and Manifest in 1936. What do the time jumps convey to the reader? What do they convey to Abilene?


Goodreads (2014). Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool. Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8293938-moon-over-manifest?from_search=true

“Moon Over Manifest.” NoveList K-8. EBSCO, 22 Oct. 2010. Web. 8 May 2014. <http://0-search.ebscohost.com.catalog.sjlibrary.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=njh&tg=UI&an=375481&site=novpk8-live&gt;.

Vanderpool, C. (2010). Moon Over Manifest. New York: Delacorte Press.