The New York Times bestselling author of Blackberry Winter imagines the inspiration for Goodnight Moon
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (Goodnight Songs) is an adored childhood classic, but its real origins are lost to history. In Goodnight June, Sarah Jio offers a suspenseful and heartfelt take on how the “great green room” might have come to be.
June Andersen is professionally successful, but her personal life is marred by unhappiness. Unexpectedly, she is called to settle her great-aunt Ruby’s estate and determine the fate of Bluebird Books, the children’s bookstore Ruby founded in the 1940s. Amidst the store’s papers, June stumbles upon letters between her great-aunt and the late Margaret Wise Brown—and steps into the pages of American literature.
For the past few years, it has been such a pleasure to watch Sarah grow as a writer and this book definitely proves why she has become one of my favorite authors to read. Jio is flawless as she transitions between time periods to tell this story, this time with letters from the 1940s between the bookstore’s owner Ruby and the infamous author of so many beloved childrens books, most notably Goodnight Moon, Margaret Wise Brown. When Ruby passes, her niece June, inherits the bookstore along with its fantastic, storied past.
My son and I read Goodnight Moon constantly before bed, so needless to say, Jio had me hooked from the get go. I was so intrigued to get started and absolutely adored the fictional account of the inspiration behind Margaret Wise Brown’s most beloved story. By far, the back and forth letters between Brown and Ruby were my favorite part, but I also enjoyed watching June grow as a woman and find her own happiness. There were some parts of the story that I feel came together a little too neatly, but overall, it was a great story in a fantastic setting.
Goodnight June is a wonderfully heartfelt story about love, friendship, family, and life. I would highly recommend this book to anyone.
In the meantime, I will be anxiously awaiting the release of Jio’s latest, The Look of Love, due out in November.