Today we’ll be looking at Hard Face Moon by award-winning author Nancy Oswald.
Let’s look at what Nancy does to hook us on the first page of this novel.
Two Crows taunts me, making sure no one is around to hear. He dares me, but keeps a safe distance. I spring like a rabbit and chase him, wrestling him down and straddling him. I pin his arms to the ground, hoping no one can see us from the trail that leads down to the creek.
Even though I have the upper hand, Two Crows mocks me again. “Hides Inside, don’t cry too loud. Our enemies will find us in the night.”
Two Crows pulls one arm free and tries to twist out of my grip. I squeeze hard with my knees and hold one shoulder down with my left hand. I double my free fist and bring it up, stabbing down at the place of his heart. He wrenches away and throws me off, but when he rises my older brother, Standing Tall, is there, arms folded, glaring at us. Standing Tall’s gaze freezes us in place.
“We are only playing.” Two Crows says quickly. “Practicing our warrior skills.”
Why It Works
Even if we never saw the cover, we’d know this was a story about Native Americans by the names, which Nancy introduces immediately, along with giving us a taste of the relationship between Two Crows and Hides Inside. And what about the names themselves? “Two Crows” evokes the birds, but what about “Hides Inside?” Does he hide inside a dwelling or inside himself? I’m immediately intrigued, especially when Two Crows taunts him about crying, but Hides Inside has Two Crows pinned so who really might cry if things go too far?
Clues to character and relationship are woven in deftly. We already know a little about these boys and care about what happens to them. And of course we want to know what Standing Tall will do. 🙂