Alabama Moon and Awards

Reading level: Ages 9-12 /Grades 6-8
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st edition (September 5, 2006)
ISBN-10: 0374301840


The Movie

Alabama Moon was adapted into a PG-rated movie in 2009 with John Goodman, Clint Howard and directed by Tim McCanlies.

You REALLY never want to eat an armadillo, but I did…FIND OUT WHY?

Alabama Moon

The Plot:

For as long as 10-year-old Moon can remember, he has lived out in the forest in a shelter with his father. They keep to themselves, their only contact with other human beings is an occasional trip to the nearest general store. When Moon’s father dies, Moon follows his father’s last instructions: to travel to Alaska to find others like themselves. But Moon is soon caught and entangled in a world he doesn’t know or understand; he’s become property of the government he has been taught to avoid all his life. As the spirited and resourceful Moon encounters constables, jails, institutions, lawyers, true friends, and true enemies, he adapts his wilderness survival skills to survive in the ‘outside world’, and even, perhaps, make his home there.


“Excellent. A terrific choice for reluctant readers.”—Booklist, Starred Review

“An unusual coming-of-age story.”—The New York Times Book Review

“A winningly fresh look at life and culture almost never seen in children’s books.”—The Horn Book Magazine

“Key writes honestly about hunting, trapping and the hardships of survival in this rather unusual coming-of-age story.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Well written with a flowing style, plenty of dialogue, and lots of action.”—School Library Journal

“Compelling.”—Voices of Youth Advocates

“Absorbing.”—Publishers Weekly

“For boys who dream of unfettered life in the great outdoors . . . Moon’s a bona fide hero.”—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books


  • Time Magazine 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time
  • American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults
  • ABC E.B. White Read Aloud Award
  • Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year
  • Book Sense Children’s Pick
  • Parents’ Choice Award Winner
  • VOYA Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers
  • Alabama Children’s Choice Book Award Master List
  • CA Silicon Valley Reads
  • California Young Reader Medal
  • California Young Reader Medal Master List
  • Illinois Rebecca Caudill Young Readers Choice Award Master List
  • Indiana Young Hoosier Award Master List
  • Kentucky Blue Grass Award Master List
  • Maine Student Book Award Master List
  • Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Award Maser List
  • Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Award Maser List
  • Minnesota Maud Hart Lovelace Book Award Master List
  • Missouri Truman Readers Award Master List
  • Tennessee Intermediate Volunteer State Book Award Master List
  • Vermont Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award Master List


Teacher Resources

Alabama Moon has made its way onto the reading lists of a number of schools, these documents were provided courtesy of Rebecca Burnett, 9th grade English teacher at Pelham High School in Shelby County Alabama.

Feel free to download them and modify them for use in your classroom.

View Resource Material posted

DOWNLOAD Word files that can be edited

Questions and Answers about Alabama Moon with Watt Key



If you were wondering how I knew about some of the backwoods and surviving there, you might want to read this next page