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Major themes in The Moonling

The Moonling has a small plot, or storyline, but then becomes this amazing world. An Earthling has a friendship with a Moonling, but it’s so much more than that.

It’s about how we call ourselves a wise species, but where’s the proof of this? For thousands of years we have been killing each other and destroying the earth for more material belongings.

It’s about how we abuse the earth because we regard it as a commodity that belongs to us, and when we (just like Karl in the story) finally see that the earth is a body (or community) to which we belong, then only may we begin to use it with love and respect.

It’s about more and more children today that have less and less contact with the natural world because of technology and the fact that their spare time must be spend more constructively – there’s just no more time for kicking your heels outdoors. Children today miss out on the “downtime” so prevalent in the past. Kids need to be outside. They need to explore, get dirty, find stuff – they need to have fun!

Research shows that empathy with, and love of, nature grows out of children’s regular contact with the natural world. Unless our children make nature personal, they will continue to be aliens on their own planet and then where will the future stewards of the earth come from?

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Reading The Moonling with your child offers a chance to talk about the book and its themes

It’s our hope that when parents read The Moonling with their kids that it would spark conversation.

Compared to the first half, the story of The Moonling grows increasingly heavier in the second half, and when the Moonling discovers that the earth is actually far more beautiful from far away due to man’s greed and destructive nature we hope that the young reader will also become conscious of this fact and, that this will confidently lead to some important questions being asked by the child. It’s more crucial than ever that parents talk to their kids TRUTHFULLY about the earth’s prognosis, our broken systems, and fossil fuel politics because we need to raise active, community-minded, and environmentally-aware children and not just cultivate another generation of mindless buyers and sellers.

“When the earth is hurting, I am hurting,” Karl thinks to himself…

Opening up to your child might be easier than you think because, most children intuitively know right from wrong, kids’ built-in moral compass detects and rejects injustice, unlike tainted grownups.

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The significance of the timeline in The Moonling

Apart from its historical significance there’s also its repetitive importance.

Karl tells him it is fire and explosions. Wherever it goes it hurts the earthlings as well as his most favourite thing – this beautiful blue and green home of Karl.

Does history repeat itself?

The news that made the headlines back in 1969 is pretty much the same news that’s making the headlines today, the only difference is that today’s news is just bigger and badder. Some examples are; the space race (but this time to Mars), terror attacks, civil unrests, border clashes, racism, perhaps another world war… …Did you know that a massive oil spill at the end of January 1969 in Santa Barbara inspired the first ever Earth Day event in 1970.

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The research behind The Moonling

We immediately saw our late grandmother’s captivating story as an opportunity to save our beautiful planet however, some of the storyline was spotty, with large gaps here and there.

The Moonling is 100% a work of fiction but the book deals with real-world issues, and because of that we wanted to bring something to the story to make it more believable. The best way we could think of was to build the story of The Moonling around a famous historical event – The events during and following the Apollo 11 mission perfectly tied up all the loose ends in my grandmother’s short story The man from the moon.

One must remember that this is a children’s story and the last thing we wanted to do was bombard kids with too many facts. So, what we did was include some easter eggs for the parents, so that when they realize that this is the Apollo 11 mission that they will tell their kids “hey, this actually happened” and then hopefully the kids will go “wwhhhaaaat, this is real?” Only some of it, but it definitely creates a ‘what if’ moment…