A Cool Moonlight
number of pages: 144
The first time I heard about Angela Johnson was on the author list posted at Color Online for the celebration of Black History Month. I found a book by her at my local library, and couldn't wait to pick it up. It was A Cool Moonlight in the Italian translation by Daniela Liconti. Although I don't often read books for children, I was immediately grabbed by the easy, beautiful writing and tender rendering of the protagonist's everyday and inner life.
The main character and narrating voice of A Cool Moonlight is Lila, an almost-nine-year-old girl who doesn't remember the sun, because she has hardly ever seen it. She has xeroderma pigmentosum, a rare genetic disease that makes her skin particularly sensitive to UV rays. As a matter of fact, Lila can't stay in the sun, and also in the night she always has to wear sunscreen and thick clothes to protect her skin from damage.
In spite of these difficulties, Lila is a lively, curious girl who likes learning new things and giving free reins to her imagination. Two friends of hers come to visit her at night: Alyssa and Elizabeth, two girls of about Lila's age, with whom she can play and explore the world. It's a pity that only she can see them!
The book cover the two months prior to Lila's ninth birthday. Her greatest wish is to be able to stand in the sunlight, feeling the sun kiss her skin. Alyssa and Elizabeth bring her "sun pieces", which Lila collects in a special sack. She is persuaded that when the sack is full, she will be able to stand in the sun. In the end, though, she reaches acceptace of her own condition, and says that "there's nothing wrong with moon girls".
Review submitted by Alessandra Peron