Children - Coming of Age
228 Pages
Reviewed on 12/23/2022
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Author Biography

Children’s fiction author Cintia Alfonso Fior first realized she wanted to be a writer after working with diverse underserved populations in South America, North America, and Africa. The perception of injustices and the great need to advocate for underserved populations, particularly children, inspired her to write her magical realism novel for young readers, Moraline. The book follows an outcast sixth-grade girl and covers important themes of racial literacy, social justice, and interconnectedness with the earth and the people around us.
Cintia Alfonso Fior is an educator, clinical psychologist, and the founder of Rising Advocates, an advocacy and educational platform dedicated to promoting children’s rights and environmental justice through storytelling and education.
Fior has a MA in Peace and Justice Studies from the Kroc Institute of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego and serves as the current chair of the American Family Therapy Academy’s (AFTA) Family Policy and Human Rights committee.
When she isn’t writing impactful and socially conscious books for middle-grade readers, Fior is a qualitative researcher working in Africa and a Ph.D. candidate. She enjoys being a mother of three, tending to her garden, cooking, and running. Originally from Argentina, she lives in San Diego, California. Moraline is her debut novel.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Foluso Falaye for Readers' Favorite

Moraline is alone in the forest, grieving after a cruel prank by her classmates when she encounters a scarred, magical man who tells her that the four winds of the universe are out of balance, and she must help to restore them. Although she doubts her ability at first, she discovers that she is being directed by mystical powers as she makes new friends, saves a little fox, makes a foreign student feel more welcome, and assists a friend in dealing with loss. Her positive effect on others is eventually felt not only by her friends but also by a far broader audience, including her hostile peers. Moraline by Cintia Alfonso Fior portrays a delightful little character who learns about caring for people from different backgrounds. She also gains an understanding of environmental preservation as she embarks on one compassionate expedition after another with her friends.

The book will captivate its readers with thrilling adventures and exploits, as well as rich depictions of nature and mystical characters that left me in awe. In addition to beautifully detailed physical attributes, the characters are portrayed as highly engaging and having extensive backstories, to the point that anyone would be interested in speaking with them in person. This compelling book deftly incorporates several life lessons that are best learned at a young age, such as the necessity of trying to comprehend the motivation of bullies rather than just reacting vengefully. The numerous, seamlessly woven themes span a wide range, including activism, racism, animal welfare, child labor, empathy, magic, and more. I hope that all children who can understand the principles in Moraline get to read it since it will help not just their generation but also the future of life on earth. Fantastic job, Cintia Alfonso Fior.

Pikasho Deka

Moraline by Cintia Alfonso Fior is a children's adventure novel that sheds light on some of the most prevalent issues society faces today. After moving from New York to San Diego, California, twelve-year-old Moraline finds it difficult to navigate school while adjusting to new classmates. However, during a school trip to Portola Redwoods State Park Moraline has a life-changing experience. She comes across the spirit of a Lakota leader who encourages her to do her part to change the world and find her place in it. Slowly, Moraline develops close friendships with Serenity, a kind-hearted girl who grieves for her deceased mother Amani, a recent immigrant who witnesses shocking racial discrimination, and Edmundo, a Mexican-American child who is the victim of child labor. Together with a fox named Nagi, the four friends discover ways to make the world a better place.

Cintia Alfonso Fior touches on some relevant topics with this charming children's adventure tale that is bound to strike a chord in your heart. Moraline is a book about finding one's place in this world and helping friends overcome their challenges. Fior provides poignant commentary on social issues such as racism, bullying, labor ethics, and the need to embrace diversity, all of which are seamlessly woven into the narrative. You can't help but adore the dynamic between Moraline, Serenity, Amani, and Edmundo, and it is their friendship that acts as the foundation upon which the plot is based. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and highly recommend it to children and adults alike.

Maria Victoria Beltran

Moraline by Cintia Alfonso Fior is about a twelve-year-old girl, Moraline, who has been running away from trouble since kindergarten. Moving from New York to California, her class goes on a camping trip and she runs away from the campsite after being bullied. Feeling cold and scared, she finds herself deep in the woods when she hears a whisper, and a sacred Native American spirit appears to her. He informs her that she should counter the excesses and evils of the third wind. This experience will set her on a journey to find her inner strength. With new friends Serenity, Amani, and Edmundo, she will discover that together, children can be champions for justice and they have the power to make the world a better place to live in.

Cintia Alfonso Fior’s Moraline is an inspiring story that aims to instill moral values as early as possible in children, focusing on social justice, environmental awareness, and racial literacy issues. It is designed to teach children that they can counter a culture of conflict by promoting a culture of peace. The characters come from different backgrounds enabling readers to easily identify with any of them. I find the mystical element of the story fascinating and informative. The author’s prose is easy to understand and the flow of the story makes it a comfortable read. Moraline is an extremely powerful story, as it aims to equip children with the right way to handle their emotions and teach them how to understand and deal with different forms of conflict and situations. This is a highly recommended tale.

Claudia Cortadi

This is a book for anyone who cares about the world. The way the author wove the four character's backgrounds under one overarching narrative was fascinating. I particularly enjoy the descriptions of the wind through magic. The chapter called "Taku Skan Skan" references the value of "movement" in the Lakota cosmology and the fact that Moraline, who has many struggles in real life due to her ADHD, was the chosen one by the Lakota leader left me in AWE. I think this book brings the possibility to see beyond a label or stigmatization with fresh eyes. This is clearly portrayed as the main character grows from an insecure and fidgeting girl into a leader for social change.

Jhon V

My two boys (ages 9 & 11) loved this book! The characters are amazing and relatable. Fior provides a very nuanced approach to social justice and diversity to foster peace education. And she manages to do so without making any group feel guilty.

Adam Grant, in his book Think Again, states that “diversity is good, but it isn’t easy.” Fior aptly recognizes this and provides a compelling story while weaving in complex diversity matters. She cultivates inclusion so we can achieve justice. And to be clear, she does not advocate for any particular group.

In short, Moraline is a great read that your kids will not regret.

S. Spataro

Excellent book about honoring diversity-ideal for Montessori curriculum 3-6 grades.

As a Montessori teacher and mother of three who has lived in several countries, I always search for books for diverse learners; Moraline and Moraline's student handbook align with Maria Montessori's peacebuilding foundations. This novel promotes' s children's sensitivity and appreciation of a multicultural world. Interestingly, the author teaches conflict analysis and resolution skills without prioritizing one group over the other. I recommend to any school's library that wants to have Culturally Responsive Teaching.


Great Story that Rings True
My sister-in-law recommended this book for our family. By the time I finished it, I learned Moraline is the favorite ‘readers' golden medal for children 4-6 grade. Well deserved.!.
I hope one day the author will translate this novel into Spanish so more kids can benefit from it.

Miss Allendez

Moraline is a powerful story that delves into themes of social justice and racial diversity. As a teacher, I wholeheartedly recommend this book because it illustrates how one girl's beliefs in changing the world for the better, coupled with the support of her friends, can lead to meaningful transformation. It's a compelling narrative that encourages young readers to explore important societal issues and the impact of unity and determination in creating positive change.

Analia Goode

I absolutely love this book! This is a wonderful and well written story with a strong message about friendship, tolerance, and acceptance of diversity. This book’s message is absolutely inspiring. When peace-building becomes a logical choice made by children, who recognize that conflict is not a positive way of living… Can’t get any better than that!!
The story about this fearful girl, Moraline, who finally decides to stop running from the problems and obstacles in her life, is a fantastic way to inspire children to step up for themselves and be aware of how valuable they and others are.
I am thrilled because my 6th grader will use this fantastic story for one of his book projects at school.