Imani's Moon | Book Review

Imani's Moon | Book Review 

Author: JaNay Brown-Wood

Illustrator: Hazel Mitchell

Publisher: Mackinac Island Press 

Published: October 14, 2014

Format: Picture Book; 32 pages

Age range: 6-9 years

Genre: Multicultural, Africa, Folktales 

Awards: Principal's Award by the NAESP Foundation

Rating: ✭✭✭✭✭


There are two things that will make me fall instantly in love with a picture book: amazingly beautiful illustrations and an empowering message. 

Imani’s Moon by JaNay Brown-Wood possess both those elements and more. In this lovely story inspired by the Maasai people of Tanzania and Kenya, Imani is the smallest girl in the village and gets teased non-stop by the other children. However, every night her mother lifts her spirits by telling her the stories of their people such as Olapa, the moon goddess, and Anansi, the spider. Imani becomes inspired by the stories and decides that she will touch the moon. The story is Imani’s struggle against the daily teasing of the other children and trying to prove herself. Her mother’s stories impart important lessons but it is her mother’s words that leave the strongest impression of all:

Imani, it is only you who must believe.
— Imani's Moon by JaNay Brown-Wood

The heartwarming narrative created by Brown-Wood paired with the watercolor and graphite illustrations of Mitchell create a story of wonder, perseverance and strength. Imani’s struggles and eventual success are sure to inspire hearts both young and old. This is a beautiful picture book that can be appreciated by children and adults alike. Not only does it provide much needed diversity, but it also leaves a lasting impression. 

page from Imani's Moon by JaNay Brown-Wood