Footprints on the Moon by Lorraine Marwood
Published by UQP
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This post is part of the Aus YA Bloggers Blog Tour and a copy of the book was provided by the publisher.
Humans are about to leave footprints on the moon, but what sort of mark can one girl make here on earth?
It’s 1969 and life is changing fast. Sharnie Burley is starting high school and finding it tough to make new friends. As the world waits to see if humans will land on the moon, the Vietnam War rages overseas. While her little cousin, Lewis, makes pretend moon boots, young men are being called up to fight, sometimes without having any choice in the matter. Sometimes without ever coming home.
Dad thinks serving your country in a war is honourable, but when Sharnie’s older sister, Cas, meets a returned soldier and starts getting involved in anti-war protests, a rift in their family begins to show. Sharnie would usually turn to her grandma for support, but lately Gran’s been forgetting things.
Can she find her own way in this brave new world?
My interest in reading Footprints on the Moon came from my love of verse novels rather than the subject matter. I’ve mentioned before how much I love them, especially when written for children. This book works well for the overlap of late primary/early high school readers. The poetry is the vehicle to touch on important issues such as bullying, family relationships and grief, as well as learning how to interact with and evaluate events in the world beyond childhood concerns.
Sharnie starts high school as America draws close to the moon landing and the Vietnam war drags on. The story intersects these global events in history with Sharnie navigating changing relationships, both family and her school friendships. For me, personally, most compelling is Sharnie’s relationship with her grandmother. There is a line early on that hit me hard:
Then it’s my turn to sit
while Grandma talks,
but it’s like she’s caught
in the same script.
This a profound and simple way of describing talking with a grandparent who is aging (and possibly has dementia) and the emotion underpinning those conversations. Lorraine Marwood’s verse gently exposes confusing grief and worry, and the deeper grief Sharnie’s family feels through the rest of the story.
Footprints on the Moon is a lovely story of Sharnie’s struggle to work out both who she is and what she believes, pulled together through her immediate familiar world and the ever-expanding outside world of 1969. Overall I enjoyed her story, especially the family elements, and the writing was simple and beautiful.
Don't forget to check out the rest of the tour stops.
Lorraine Marwood was born and raised in rural Victoria and has lived for most of her married life on a dairy farm with her husband and their six children. Lorraine is an award-winning poet who has been widely published in literary magazines across Australia, as well as magazines in the UK, USA, New Zealand and Canada. She has also published several children’s novels and collections of poetry.
You can find her online via her website or on social media: Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.