Reader Reviewed Listen to the Moon by Michael Morpurgo

Listen to the Moon

Written by Michael Morpurgo

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

Michael Morpurgo’s much praised novel Listen to the Moon was inspired by a gruesome medal commemorating the sinking of the Lusitania 100 years ago off the coast of Co. Cork, and a newspaper report he came across during his research about a small child being spotted on top of a piano floating amongst the wreckage. Michael will share this extraordinary story and answer questions from the audience. He will also talk about Dreams of Freedom, a book of inspirational quotations about human rights, published with Amnesty International, for which Michael has written an introduction.

A Note from the Michael Morpurgo “There was once in our family a hideous medal, commemorating the sinking of the Lusitania in May of 1915. On one side, if I remember rightly, there was the ship going down, on the other a skeleton, selling tickets to the passengers. The medal has long since vanished, but ever since those two images stayed with me. I learned later that the ship was torpedoed by a German U Boat, 12 miles off Kinsale, in the south of Ireland. It was at the time the greatest single wartime civilian disaster in history. I discovered too that three hours or so after the sinking, the grand piano from the dining saloon of this luxurious liner was found floating on the ocean, in some reports, with a child still clinging on. That was my inspiration for Listen to the Moon. It is a story of love and loss, of family and community fractured by war, of the power of hope, and above all of the will of the human spirit to survive.”

A Piece of Passion from Pubisher, Ann-Janine Murtagh “Michael Morpurgo is simply the Master of British Storytelling and I feel privileged to have published many wonderful Michael Morpurgo novels over the years but when I first read Listen to the Moon I fell in love with his writing all over again and as if for the first time. It is a supremely beautiful book from a storyteller at the very height of his powers and a testament to the transforming power of storytelling itself. Listen to the Moon is just perfect. We are hugely proud to be publishing it on the HarperCollins Children’s list this Autumn’.

Reader Reviews

Kids love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

  • Alexander Bisland, age 9 - 'BEWARE this book is like a roller-coaster – it has HIGHS and lows. It is an emotional book and I give it 11/10.' Read full review >
  • Sam Harper, age 10 - 'A fantastic story whose pieces come together like a huge jigsaw puzzle. It’s brilliantly written and both happy and sad. I loved it!' Read full review >
  • Jasmine Harris-Hart, age 12 - 'If you like WWI historical fiction stories , full of emotional ups and downs , then you will enjoy this one.' Read full review >
  • Jake Fletcher, age 14 - 'Trenches. A single word that seems to represent World War One. ‘Listen to the Moon’ tells the story of the other side of the war, the fight for homeland survival.' Read full review >
  • Aimee Sweet, age 13 - 'It was very fast-paced, and all events were quite unexpected which made it more mysterious. After reading this book, I thought more about the situations that happened and even looked up a few events.'  Read full review >


Listen to the Moon by Michael Morpurgo

It is May, 1915. Alfie and his fisherman father find a girl on an uninhabited island in the Scillies - injured, thirsty, lost...and with absolutely no memory of who she is, or how she came to be there. She can say only one word: Lucy. Where has she come from? Is she a mermaid, the victim of a German U-boat, or even - as some islanders suggest - a German spy...? Only one thing is for sure: she loves music and moonlight, and it is when she listens to the gramophone that the glimmers of the girl she once was begin to appear. WW1 is raging, suspicion and fear are growing, and Alfie and Lucy are ever more under threat. But as we begin to see the story of Merry, a girl boarding a great ship for a perilous journey across the ocean, another melody enters the great symphony - and the music begins to resolve...


Please invite this wonderful story in, you won't regret it. History is rarely more movingly alive. Morris Gleitzman

Praise for Michael Morpurgo:

Michael Morpurgo writes brilliantly about war and animals, conveying the big emotions without preaching. Guardian

Champagne quality over a wide range of subjects. Daily Telegraph

There are few children's writers as compelling as Michael Morpurgo. Daily Express

Morpurgo, as always, is subtle and skilful, and incorporates social and moral issues into his writing without being self-righteous or detracting from the quality of the narrative Elizabeth Reilly, British Council

The former children's laureate has the happy knack of speaking to both child and adult readers. Guardian

About the Author

Michael Morpurgo

March 16 was Michael Morpurgo month on Lovereading4kids - click here to view the favourites we selected on themes of Legends, Animals, War and Journeys.

Michael Morpurgo, OBE, MBE, is one of the UK’s best-loved authors and storytellers. He was appointed Children’s Laureate in May 2003, a post he helped to set up with his friend Ted Hughes in 1999. He was awarded an OBE for services to Literature in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2007. He has written over 120 books, including Kensuke’s Kingdom which won the Children’s Book Award 2000 and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Children’s Book Award and the Carnegie Medal in 2000. His novel, Private Peaceful, a harrowing story about the First World War was published in Autumn 2003. It won the 2004 Red House Children’s Book Award and the Blue Peter Book Award in 2005. His novel Shadow about a boy from Afghanistan and the dog he befriends won the Red House Children’s Book Award, voted for by children.

Many of Michael’s books have been adapted for the stage. These include Private Peaceful, Kensuke’s Kingdom, Why the Whales Came and The Mozart Question, and most notably, the National Theatre’s production of War Horse which then moved to a theatre in central London. This production of Michael’s moving and powerful story of survival on the Western Front, which reached number one in the Observer’s top ten theatre performances and was also awarded the best design prize in the Evening Standard Theatre Awards. This production also played in New York where it was awarded five Tony Awards. In 2012 the film adaptation of War Horse, directed by Steven Spielberg, was a box office success.
Michael travels all over the UK and abroad talking to children and telling his stories and encouraging them to tell theirs.

In 1976, Michael and his wife, Clare, started the charity Farms for City Children. They help to run three farms around the country, in Gloucestershire, Pembrokeshire and North Devon. Each farm offers children and teachers from urban primary schools the chance to live and work in the countryside for a week, and gain hands-on experience. For more information about the work of Farms for City Children, please visit

Michael Morpurgo lives in Devon with his wife Clare. He has three children and seven grandchildren.

Michael Morpurgo was our Guest Editor in June 2010. Click here to see the books that inspired his writing, or scroll down to see books written by Michael.

Anthony Horowitz on Michael Morpurgo:

'Michael Morpurgo is the most solid, classical of children's authors. He sits outside the series-driven blockbusters so beloved of publishers nowadays: he hasn't created a Harry Potter or an Alex Rider – and I admire him for resisting that. We are opposite sides of the same coin and, although his work has never influenced mine, I admire the eloquent, considered voice of his best books. He has an unerring moral compass – his schoolteacher past has never quite left him – and books such as War Horse and The Butterfly Lion have a strong social concience and an honesty that makes them universal.' (The Guardian)

Why not CLICK HERE to take a peek at Michael’s 10 Rules for Writing.

or Click here to read a Q&A with the author.

You can also read about his life in a new biography, War Child to War Horse, to which he has contributed seven stories - click here to find out more.

Michael is the inaugural President of the Historical Writers Association starting from Autumn 2011, ( It was founded to bring social and professional support to writers of historical fiction and non-fiction, publishers, agents and booksellers, all bound both by their common interest in historical books and by the sense of community that comes from a shared obsession.

Since its creation, the Historical Writers' Association has launched a Festival of Historical Writing in association with English Heritage as part of their Festival of History at Kelmarsh in Northamptonshire.


March 2016 was Michael Morpurgo Month - a special month-long celebration of the varied and wonderful works of Michael Morpurgo as he celebrates his 70th year and also to mark the 40th anniversary of his and his wife’s Farms for City Children charity. Each week we featured a different selection of books under the themes of Journeys, War, Legends and Animals. We invited our readers to review many of the books that featured during Michael Morpurgo month - and you can download all their reviews here.

If you like Michael Morpurgo you might also like to read books by Robert Westall, Anne Fine, Sarah Lean and Celia Rees.

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Book Info


448 pages
Interest Age: From 9


Michael Morpurgo
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HarperCollins Children's Books an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Publication date

25th September 2014




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