Great Books
We believe in the power of story.
In our Great Books column, you’ll find suggested titles for preschool, elementary, and secondary students—along with a book synopsis, why you’ll want to read it, discussion questions, and related books.
“When you read a book, you are in a mind-to-mind encounter with its author, whether he lived 1000 years ago or lives today. This is the wonder of real books—all kinds of books, not only the serious and factual. Your mind grows through these encounters.”
—Dr. Ruth Beechick
Elementary School
Worth the Wait
Based on
Owl Moon
by Jane Yolen
Owl Moon Cover
Book Description:
Waiting can be difficult, but it can also be rewarding. Owl Moon by Jane Yolen (Philomel Books, 1987) invites readers to wait alongside a young girl eager for her first owling adventure. Anticipation builds. Finally, one evening the wait is over. Father and daughter trek through snow-covered woods, their path lit by a full moon casting shadows on snow “whiter than the milk in a cereal bowl.” Together, father and daughter walk quietly, seeking the Great Horned Owl.
Why You Will Want To Read This Book:
Jane Yolen’s captivating descriptive text is accented by John Schoenherr’s soft watercolor illustrations—a blend of still, quiet expectancy, a winter treat worth the wait. Owl Moon is a timeless literary treasure, engaging in content, inviting in illustration, and rich in relationship.
Discussion Questions:
The little girl in the story—also the narrator (the person telling the story)—waited patiently “for a long, long time.” Her waiting indoors prepared her for the waiting which would take place on her owling outing. She had to be quiet and patient. Maybe she would hear or see an owl.

Sometimes being patient is hard. Talk about a time when it was hard to be patient, when you or your child had to wait. What emotions were felt while waiting? What emotions were felt at the end of the wait? Were there feelings of joy or disappointment?

More Books Like This:
Jane Yolen and her daughter Heidi E.Y. Stemple wrote another book featuring the moon titled A Kite for Moon. Owl Moon received the Caldecott Medal—awarded to “the artist of the most distinguished American Picture Book for Children published in the United States during the preceding year.” You can explore other Caldecott winners or check out one of our favorite winter-related ones: Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin.