Non-Fiction: ”Moon Books”

Hannah Cohen, Writer, Pub

“Moon books” are what I called them. I sleepily stumbled over to my bookshelf that towered many feet above my head and reached towards the bottom shelf. This shelf was filled with my moon books. They all varied in size, colors, titles, and narratives, but all the books were connected through their theme of the moon. I grabbed as many as I could carry in my small arms and dragged them, one more slipping a little with each step, into my crib. The dark wood of the crib and the blue floral sheets awaited my arrival. I hoisted each book up one by one, eventually forming a massive pile of haphazardly stacked books. Now, as I climbed up into the crib and pulled the white duvet over my lap, I felt the books beckoning me. I gently lifted each book into the air and placed it lovingly on the empty space of the bedspread around me until no white remained. With every book I did the same, lifting and placing it into an area inhabited by only sheets. I could now see and identify all of my moon books. I was a small child in the middle of so many great stories about something so drastically bigger than myself: the moon. I didn’t know how to read them, but I could feel their intense presence. I began flipping through each one, careful not to make any noise as I was expecting to be scolded for staying up past my bedtime. Mom knew, though, she watched me through the door kept ajar. As I gazed upon the images that were enclosed within the pages, mom’s voice spoke clearly in my head, “when I took the moon for a walk…” (Curtis, 2004). The end page turned and re-enclosed each image. I placed it right in front of me in a clearing within the bedsheets. “‘I love the night,’ says the Moon, as she smiles to herself…” (Hosta, 2003). The hardcover closes, and I place it on the stack. “It was Kitten’s first full moon” (Henkes, 2004). The gentle thud of the back cover signaled to be placed on the stack. “The moon rose in the sky and looked down on the world” (Horacek, 2003). On the stack it went. “And the moon was so bright the sky seemed to shine” (Yolen, 1987). The toppling pile grew higher and higher until all the moon books were stacked perfectly. My eyelids grew heavy as I sank back against the pillow, sleep overtaking me finally.

The morning sunlight cast an array of beams across my face as I awoke to the scattered books. Some remained on the sheets while others were nestled between bed frame and mattress, some even lying peacefully on the floor. They would wait for the next night to arrive when I would grasp each cover yet again, flip through their pages, and place each one in a perfectly aligned stack, my mind and spirit full of moonlight.

Even from this early age, I was enamored with not just the physical look and weight of the books, but their content. What makes them alike? What makes them different or special from each other? Regardless of their varying sizes and colors, their themes were all analogous to that of a person’s character. Throughout my years attending school, I have taken this tidbit of perspective that I was so drawn to as a child. People can be alike in so many ways, but oftentimes refuse to see past their differences. Humankind can use their overarching similarities to work on understanding, forgiveness, and inclusion. Now, as I near adulthood, I interact with people regularly. Some I connect with, and some not as much, but I always strive to see the broader connection between us rather than superficial differences which are not ingrained into their fundamental character.

From any onlooker’s perspective, they see a little girl maybe three to four years old just sitting in her crib looking at books and admiring their pictures, simply drawn to the vibrant colors and intricate illustrations. She isn’t reading or comprehending any of them. They have no significance and are randomly selected based on where they were positioned on her bookshelf. Perhaps this is the case, but those books were positioned in that spot on the shelf based on one all-embracing commonality. Despite this, the books were all different. They all had something unique about them that made them special. What connects them, though, is how they all lay under the moon. We can all live our own lives with our own dissimilarities, but we are all still living on the same Earth. That is our connection.

Despite people’s differences, education can tie them together and unite a community. Education, by no means, is required to be defined by formal schooling with classrooms, desks, and papers. Education can take on forms such as learning through experience, or through stories, or through advice. Education has no limits. No matter the identity, background, present circumstances, or future goals, every person has a story of their own upbringing and education that deserves to be cast in moonlight. By merely flipping through and stacking my books each night, my younger self taught me to see the commonality in things regardless of various differences. She taught me to grow up looking for the unity in people. Even now, I continue to learn from the girl who loved stacking her moon books until sleep overtook her, and the sunlight revealed the night’s endeavors.