Moon Over Manifest
by Clare Vanderpool
I have embarked on a new writing project. Though it is a little formless now, I do know that it will be set during The Depression or a time like The Depression. So, I've been excavating my memories, trying to mine anything I already know about the time period. What I have found to date are the big stories: bread lines, CCCP, and Dust Bowl. Until I watched the new Ken Burns documentary, I didn't have any personal information about the time period. My grandparents were teenagers at the time, but their stories just seemed to romanticize it as "a simpler time."
And then, I remembered Clare Vanderpool's novel Moon over Manifest. It tells the story of Abilene Tucker, a twelve year old girl who is sent to live with friends so that her father can take a railroad job in 1936. (I have come to find out that parents would do anything to secure employment during the '30s, and sending children away to live with family and friends was common. You can also read about this in Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm.) Until now, Abilene has lived life on the move and is only acquainted with the town of Manifest by way of her father's stories. She imagines it to be a wonderland of sorts.
As she jumps off of the train in this small Kansas town, she reads the welcome sign:
P.S. This novel won the 2011 Newbery Medal.