To All Children Who Ever Felt Different

Eloise McGraw dedicated her Newbery Honor Award winning book, The Moorchild, “To all children who ever felt different.” Doesn’t that touch the child in each one of us?

The Moorchild is a story about a changeling. Terri Windling, of The Endicott Studio, explains changelings in an article she wrote:

In changeling tales, the fairies snatch infants and pretty children from their beds, whisking them off to fairyland as pampered pets, companions, or slaves. Sometimes a fairy is left behind, glamoured to look like the stolen child: a bad-tempered, sickly, hungry creature who is a plague to the human parents.

In The Moorchild, McGraw does not tell the story of the human child stolen by the fairies or elves (or the “Folk” as she refers to them), but instead focuses on the Folk child that was exchanged for the human child.

Saaski (who was known as Moql by the Folk) is half Folk/half human. That’s the problem. She simply does not fit into either world. The Folk rejected her when they discovered she was half-human, and secretly exchanged her for the newborn of a loving couple in the nearby village. Saaski grows up amongst the humans, but looks and acts quite different from the other children, which makes her life very difficult because we all know that humans are fearful of things that are different or that they don’t understand. The story of what it is like to not belong in either world, and how she eventually comes to terms with her situation, makes this a poignant and fascinating read.

This book makes a lovely read-aloud, and is also available as an audiobook with narration by Virginia Leishman. To read more about changeling stories, visit The Endicott Studio and read the excellent essay by Terri Windling.

The Moorchild is my 4th book read for Carl’s Once Upon a Time reading challenge, and I highly recommend it.

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9 thoughts on “To All Children Who Ever Felt Different

  1. Robin

    Nymeth, the image is from the cover of the paperback version of the book and fits the story perfectly. If you’re interested in the book, you should also read what Terri Windling says about it in her article.

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  2. Nymeth

    I’ve been going through all the essays at Endicott Studio, but I hadn’t read that one yet. Thank you for pointing it out, it was fascinating, and it added quite a few titles to my tbr list.

    Terri Windling is such a brilliant essayist, isn’t she? I’d love it if she released all the essays at Endicott Studio in book form – I’d certainly get a copy right away.

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  3. Robin

    Nymeth, I’ve been doing the same thing…trying to read all of Terri W’s online articles. I loved her article on Peter Pan. She’s amazing. Such talent!

    Jenclair, it’s a little book worth reading. McGraw won the Newbery Honor Award (runner up for the Newbery Medal) for it–actually she was an Honor winner with four different books.

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  4. Quixotic

    Sounds like another one for The List.

    I haven’t yet read that Terri Windling essay, will do so this evening!

    Got to agree with Nymeth, Terri Windling’s essays are fascinating, and if they were to be released in book form, I’d snap up a copy!

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  5. Robin

    Quixotic, I’d be right there in line with you and Nymeth for a book of Terri’s essays! She’s so articulate and I’ve learned so much from her.

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  6. naridu

    Robin thankyou very much for introducing me to the Endicott Journal…ah, another addictive collection to read my way through. The Moorchild sounds quite interesting, similar to another book I have on my to read list The Stolen Child: A Novel by Keith Donohue.

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  7. Robin

    Naridu, I haven’t read The Stolen Child, but I’ve heard of it. I think it’s the changeling tale, but from the point of view of the stolen human. I’ve been curious about it and have it on my list, too.

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