Shooting the Moon by Frances O’Roark Dowell


Genre:  Historical Fiction

# of Pages:  163 p.

2010 Iowa Teen Award Winner

RAC Book:  No

Twelve-year-old Jamie is excited when she hears her older brother, T.J., has enlisted in the Army.  Their father is a Colonel and they have lived all of their lives on army bases.  She would love to go fight for her country too if they would let her.  She is surprised when their father does not want T.J. to go to Vietnam.  He does everything he can to convince her brother to back out of his enlistment agreement, but T.J. persists and is sent to Vietnam almost immediately after basic training.  He sends generic letters home to his parents, but he sends rolls of film to Jamie.  She learns how to develop film by herself so that she is the first one to see the prints and she is surprised by the content of the film.  First of all, the war does not look at all as glamorous as she thought it would.  Secondly, there are many pictures of the moon, which make her wonder what her brother is trying to show her with the pictures.  Jamie soon decides she is not so thrilled about her big brother fighting in the war anymore. 

This Vietnam tale is a great way to introduce the Vietnam War to students this age.  Jamie’s perspective of the young child who sees war as glamour and heroes quickly changes when she starts seeing what is going on over there.  Her father is a well-written character as he is the one who describes some of the errors in the strategy used in the war.  The emotions and feelings of soldiers and families help the reader to truly get into the story and feel what it would be like to be in their position.  A very well-written book on a very difficult topic.


10 Responses to “Shooting the Moon by Frances O’Roark Dowell”

  1. 1 lindamarieisme July 24, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    I loved the book Shooting the Moon. The story has so much potential as a classroom read. I do, however, have an issue with the time line of the story.
    In the story TJ enlists in the spring of his senior year, 1969. He leaves for bootcamp two days after his high school graduation. After boot camp, he is home for the weekend before leaving for VietNam. He is MIA soon after Labor Day, 1969.
    But before he leaves he tells his sister, Jaimie, about liking the idea that there are ‘human footprints on the moon’s surface’. And she, in turn, imagines ‘Neil Armstrong’s footprints on its surface’.
    Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon July 29,1969. There is no way this fits with the timeline.
    Am I missing something in the story? I want to do it with the class, but can’t justify the timeline.
    Linda Foster

  2. 4 PC September 12, 2010 at 5:09 am

    It would be great to see footprint on Mars. Do we need to have someone there just to make that statement? 8^)

  3. 5 thumbsupp January 6, 2011 at 2:00 am

    Wow. Love this book, so well written, so well done, so much character, so much feeling

  4. 7 autumn. July 2, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    this book is really good and kept me reading all day to see what was going to happen.. but i wish they have a second book to see what happens to TJ.

  5. 8 Anonymous December 11, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    where is the setting of the book.

  6. 9 Anonymous March 25, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    who is jamie’s friend?

  7. 10 Ariana Smith May 13, 2016 at 12:29 am

    I have to say Shooting The Moon is one of my favorite books. One thing I have to say about the book is that I’m not to happy about how it ended. I hate when books and movies end in clip hangars. This book ended in kinda a cliff hangar which kinda annoys me. I want to know if Frances O’Roark Dowel is going to make a squel to this book.

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