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Awards & Honors

If You Were the Moon

Written by Laura Purdie Salas
Illustrated by Jaime Kim
Publisher: Millbrook Press, 2017
ISBN: 978-1467780094 32 pages


The moon does so much! It spins like a twilight ballerina, plays tug-of-war with the ocean, and lights a path for baby sea turtles. Discover many roles the moon plays in this whimsical children’s book about the moon. If you’ve ever thought the moon was beautiful…JUST beautiful, then this book will reveal the many crucial ways the moon affects our planet.
If you were the moon, you would...Play dodgeball with space rocks.

Sidebar: The moon would not be good at dodgeball, because it doesn't get out of the way of the meteorites crashing into it! All those collisions have pounded the top layer of the moon's crust into gray, powdery dust. Craters and dents pit its rocky surface.

Journal Reviews

Orbiting between poetic lullaby and astro-powered essentials, Salas and Kim provide a great addition to a nighttime-window reading shelf and/or early-science classroom.
—Kirkus Reviews
This selection can be appreciated on many different levels, making it both a wonderful bedtime read and a versatile early science resource for young children in group settings.
—School Library Journal
Simple poetic text on each double-page spread includes more details in parentheses, so children can enjoy luminous illustrations while acquiring knowledge.
...conveys information while awakening a sense of wonder in the nighttime sky.
—American Association for the Advancement of Science
The Moon is a very busy celestial body, and Earthlings are lucky that it is so active. That’s the delightful premise of a new picture book by Laura Purdie Salas and Jaime Kim.
—Science Magazine
A dreamlike study in contrasts, Laura Purdie Salas gives the moon a playful personality while providing intriguing scientific and cultural facts in If You Were the Moon...An exceptional introduction to astronomy or a tranquil bedtime story, it all begins with one child’s wonder at the moon shining through a bedroom window.

Reader Reactions

I found this to be such a cute way to explain some of the science behind the moon’s movement, appearance, and connections to Earth.

—Concord Public Library

This book conveys information while awakening a sense of wonder in the nighttime sky.

—American Association for the Advancement of Science

The book creates a beautiful story line, but also includes blocks of text that provide the reader with more information if they want to know more.


Some craft moves you might teach kids with this book: dialogue lead, fact inserts, teaching tone, vivid verbs (i.e., that start each page’s heading), categories, parentheses, content-specific words, back matter (e.g., glossary, further reading)

—Two Writing Teachers

If You Were the Moon is a must have for budding astronomers and poets everywhere.

—Wrapped in Foil

Each page has a line from the poetic narrative and factual information. The paintings that go along with each point are magnificent.

—Jana the Teacher

A lively list poem about the moon accompanied by wonderful illustrations.

—New York Public Library - New & Noteworthy

A perfect introduction to the moon for the youngest readers.

—Rebecca J. Gomez

It’s so much fun and so inspiring when authors blend together elements of different genres, especially when they cross genres that have traditionally been kept separate.

—Rain City Librarian

Laura Purdie Salas is an author that I trust to deliver a quality book, and she does not disappoint in this latest endeavor.

—Fairview Review

I simply cannot think of a readers bookshelf where, If I Were the Moon, doesn’t fit.

—A Word Edgewise

This book is a must-have for any PreK or early elementary classroom.

—Reading to the Core

Downloadable Activities

Teaching Guide (brief)
Teaching Guide (thorough)

Photo Gallery

Book launch party
Storywalk at the Minnesota State Fair
Moon fashion
A favorite reader
Moon madness
With moony helpers at a moon storytime
spanish storywalk dakota
dakota county storywalk
Things to Do if You Are a Firework
Student "Things to Do If..." poem
Student writing

More for Educators or Writers

How this Book Got Started

This book grew out of my love for writing Things To Do If... poems. On author visits, students and I wrote so many of this type of poem that I thought, "I should write a book in this format." I love the moon and space--my dad worked at NASA for most of his career. So I put those two things together, and If You Were the Moon was born.

Poems I've Written

These poems connect to this book in topic, theme, or form—great for text-to-text connections!

Digging for Poems - Rest
Digging for Poems – Wolf

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