Who Tells the Moon to Sleep?

Rated 4.50/5 based on 11 reviews
Picture book for ages 8 and up.

Having learned from Mama that the world is filled with things that do what they please like the moon and the cat, Tess wonders why she and Mama are constantly told what to do. They are told when to play, when to eat, and even when to sleep. Mama explains that they are slaves -- owned by the couple in the big house. But Tess realizes her heart is free. More

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About Haley Whitehall

Haley was telling stories before she could write. When she was four, she woke her parents up to write down her burning ideas. Growing up on John Wayne movies and the Little House on the Prairie books, she has always loved historical fiction.

For ten years Haley developed her writing craft and voice by studying authors such as Avi, Ann Rinaldi, and Mark Twain to name a few. She received her B.A in history through Central Washington University. During all her research, her soul was pulled deeper in the 19th century U.S.

Using her words to transport people back in time continues to give her a thrill. Sometimes she wishes she could escape the present and float down the Mississippi River on a raft. But then again, just writing another historical fiction novel is a much safer journey.

You can visit her at HaleyWhitehall.com

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Reviews

Review by: Britt Oosterlee on April 19, 2013 :
Nice short children's book about slavery, with lovely illustrations.
I think the book does a very good job at explaining slavery in a way that is comprehensible to children and tackles the issue in a way that is not too serious or traumatizing, but still conveys that slavery was a terrible thing.
I did find it a bit repetitive, but I guess that for a children's book that's ok.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Kyrana Jones on March 24, 2013 :
Who Tells The Moon to Sleep? Written by Haley Whitehall, this book is a fictional portrayal of a little girl who lived as a slave on a tobacco farm. The story is told from the child’s perspective as she begins to notice that not everyone is treated the same. Sad and thought provoking, this is an excellent read-a-loud book for early readers. The book is also suitable as a resource in the classroom to support discussions about slavery and treating others equally.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Karen on Feb. 24, 2013 : (no rating)
I wasn't sure how to review this book, so I decided to ask for help from my daughter since she is about the age that the book is geared for. The following is her review.

It talks about a little girl and her mom. They are both slaves and work in a tobacco field. She asks her mom many questions throughout the day about animals doing various things (ex: the squirrels playing, the birds singing, etc.), wondering who tells them to do it. At the end of the day she asks her mom if she is free like them. She discovers that she is not free, because she is a slave. But she knows that no one has control of her heart, mind, or soul. She promises that someday she will be free.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Karen on Feb. 24, 2013 : (no rating)
I wasn't sure how to review this book, so I decided to ask for help from my daughter since she is about the age that the book is geared for. The following is her review.

It talks about a little girl and her mom. They are both slaves and work in a tobacco field. She asks her mom many questions throughout the day about animals doing various things (ex: the squirrels playing, the birds singing, etc.), wondering who tells them to do it. At the end of the day she asks her mom if she is free like them. She discovers that she is not free, because she is a slave. But she knows that no one has control of her heart, mind, or soul. She promises that someday she will be free.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Rita Sherepa on Feb. 21, 2013 :
This is a beautiful, gentle book that addresses slavery from a young child's level. It didn't get into the politics or blame or horror, just the simple impact on one child. An excellent introduction for younger children. Also beautifully illustrated.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Liza Butler on Feb. 20, 2013 :
I found this book to be a wonderful intro book for your children to be taught about slavery. In a style they can understand without showing the worse of their treatment. Definitely recommended.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Heather Murdoch on Feb. 04, 2013 :
As a long-time fan and collector of children's books I loved the simple but powerful message this book offered. The tale is one that starts out sorrowful, a child perspective on slavery, but through the power of love she finds that she is still free in her heart. My 3year old was able to identify the feelings of "sad" and "happy" that Tess experiences throughout her day. The illustrations were fantastic. A great story for a child of any age!
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Debi Parm on Feb. 03, 2013 :
This is a well written children's book that explains slavery in a way they can understand. As an adult I found it an enjoyable read. When I read it to a friends grandson, he asked me to read it again....and again. Now he is asking his mom to buy a copy so he an read it whenever he wants.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Nicola Martel on Jan. 29, 2013 :
This book is a real winner! I don't often give five stars, but this one truly merits it. It is lovingly illustrated, tells a great message (controlling others through ownership is wrong), but best of all it is written with a graceful and skilled style.

It follows a traditional story-telling method, which is repetitive (but not monotonous!) and circular: upon forced to wake early, the girl in the story asks her mother "Who tells the sun to wake?" Her mother explains that the sun wakes when it has slept until no longer sleepy--something the girl cannot fathom. This repeats: "Who tells the cat to eat;" "who tells the beaver to wash;" etc. Finally, the title question, "Who tells the moon to sleep?" The girl wonders how it is that they (the sun, the cat, the moon) are allowed to make such decisions. After her mother explains that it is because they are free, the girl cleverly reasons that, as she is unable to make such decisions she must not be free. It is her first realization that she is, in fact, another human's slave.

At first demoralized, she quickly finds strength in the knowledge that, though her actions can be controlled by another, no one can control her mind, heart, and soul. And with such strength, she vows that one day she will be truly free, with no one to control her.

The girl in the story is very well portrayed. Her inquisitiveness, her desire to play, her distress at the thought of eventual separation from her mother, even her discomfort when hungry, makes her a character that modern children can easily identify with and sympathize with. Slavery was real--it happened to real people--real children. What would that have been like? This story brings that question to our minds.

This book was an excellent read aloud, though at times the subject matter made it hard (emotionally) to continue. The topic of slavery has not been discussed in depth in our household. It is a topic that must be introduced at some point. This book makes that perfect introduction.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Cathy Spencer on Dec. 30, 2012 :
I quite enjoyed WHO TELLS THE MOON TO SLEEP. The story depicts the hard living conditions of a young slave girl and her mother while working on a tobacco plantation. The questions the girl asks about nature and the creatures living around her help her to ponder her own life and the difference between being free and enslaved. The illustrations are beautiful with warm colours and a rustic style well-suited to the story. It's a great children's story; both entertaining and thought-provoking. I recommend it.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Kimberly Scott on Dec. 20, 2012 : (no rating)
Just read the heartbreaking picture/story Who Tells the Moon to Sleep? by Haley Whitehall . It will be a fantastic, tender-hearted book to share with my grandchildren about the days of slavery, and the children then. What the life was like for the slave children. Tess questions why her and Mama are told when to do everything, even play or eat or sleep, but other things in life aren't. She comes to realize that they can never completely be owned as no one, not even Master Embry can own their heart or mind. There are beautiful illustrations by Bill Pilgrim to go along with story.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

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