Full Cicada Moon
Written by Marilyn Hilton
It’s 1969, and the Apollo 11 mission is getting ready to go to the moon. But for half-black, half-Japanese Mimi, moving to a predominantly white Vermont town is enough to make her feel alien. Suddenly, Mimi’s appearance is all anyone notices. She struggles to fit in with her classmates, even as she fights for her right to stand out by entering science competitions and joining Shop Class instead of Home Ec. And even though teachers and neighbors balk at her mixed-race family and her refusals to conform, Mimi’s dreams of becoming an astronaut never fade-no matter how many times she’s told no. This historical middle-grade novel is told in poems from Mimi’s perspective over the course of one year in her new town and shows readers that positive change can start with just one person speaking up.
Primary Source Pairing:
Mimi’s dream of becoming an astronaut is strong despite the fact she is continually told no. In 1969, Mimi has many societal and stereotypical barriers working against her goals and dreams. She is not one to let these hold her back. In a beautifully written story, we learn of Mimi’s struggles and successes in academics, in her school, with her friends, and in her community. While this is technically historical fiction, it is interesting to think critically about what has changed since the time period of this book’s setting and what has remained the same.
For this primary source pairing, invite students to study an image of Mae Carol Jemison, the first African American woman NASA astronaut who traveled on the Space Shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992.
Consider also the timeline of events following the time period of the setting of our story. See below for additional resources on these events in history.
1969: Full Cicada Moon time period of the setting
July 16, 1969 – July 24, 1969 – Apollo 11 space mission
1972 – Title IX passed to prohibit discrimination against girls and women in federally-funded education, including in athletics programs.
June 18, 1983 – Sally Ride became the first US woman astronaut when she flew on the space shuttle Challenger.
September 12, 1992 – Mae Carol Jemison, the first African American woman NASA astronaut who traveled on the Space Shuttle Endeavour.
Questions for Discussion:
- Describe what you see.
- What do you notice first?
- What people and objects are shown?
- How are they arranged?
- What is the physical setting?
- What, if any, words do you see?
- What other details can you see?
- What’s happening in the image?
- What can you learn from examining this image?
Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Mae Carol Jemison photograph: Wikimedia.org
- Apollo 11 Photo Gallery: NASA
- First Men on the Moon: 45 Years Later Photo Gallery: US News and World Report, specifically this image lower on the page (scroll down): American Servicemen looking at Saigon Newspaper reporting on Apollo 11
- Newspaper Collection Reporting Apollo 11: NY Daily News
- Sally Ride Biography and Photo Gallery: NASA
- Title IX Legislation: The United States Department of Justice