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The Moorchild

The Moorchild

For Ages: 9 - 12
  • reading group guide
  • 5awards
Half moorfolk and half human, and unable to shape-shift or disappear at will, Moql threatens the safety of the Band. So the Folk banish her and send her to live among humans as a changeling. Named Saaski by the couple for whose real baby she was swapped, she grows up taunted and feared by the villagers for being different, and is comfortable only on the moor, playing strange music on her bagpipes.

As Saaski grows up, memories from her forgotten past with the Folks slowly emerge. But so do emotions from her human side, and she begins to realize the terrible wrong the Folk have done to the humans she calls Da and Mumma. She is determined to restore their child to them, even if it means a dangerous return to the world that has already rejected her once.
Choose a format:
  • Aladdin | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416927686 | 
  • December 2006 | 
  • Grades 3 - 7 | 
  • Lexile 940L
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Reading Group Guide

About the Book
One of the most acclaimed fantasies in recent years -- winner of a Newbery Honor Medal and chosen as a Boston Globe Horn Book Honor Book for fiction -- The Moorchild is set long ago in an unfamiliar place where fairy folk and humans sometimes intermingle. Yet at its heart, this distinguished novel is about the timeless issues of fear and prejudice. Half-folk and half-human, Saaski has no place in either world. The human villagers ridicule and taunt her because she's different. They blame her for a pox that's plaguing their children and for the death of their cattle. Her life is threatened. But Saaski has no desire to hurt others. She is searching for the truth about herself and for some place where she can finally fit in. An "unusual blend of fantasy and contemporary concerns," School Library Journal wrote in its starred review, "The Moorchild will truly be a magical find."
Discussion Topics
  • The Moorchild is dedicated to "all children who have ever felt DIFFERENT." Is this another way of saying that the book is dedicated to all children? Do you think every child -- or adult -- has felt different at some point in their lives? Have you?
  • Discuss Saaski's friendship with Tam. Why is each so important to the other? How are they alike? How are they different? How long do you think they will keep traveling together?
  • Almost as soon as she sees Saaski, Old Bess is convinced
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