MOON IN FULL: A MODERN-DAY COMING-OF-AGE STORY, by Marpheen Chann; Islandport Press, 2022; 248 pages, $18.95; ISBN 978-1-952143-35-9.


Portland author Marpheen Chann’s debut book, “Moon in Full,” is much more than just a coming-of-age story; it is a remarkably open and honest story of a young man’s triumph over adversities most people would refuse to face.

Chann is a second-generation Asian-American born in 1991 to a Cambodian refugee mother. He is an attorney, advocate for LGBTQ rights, and was elected in 2021 to an at-large seat on the Portland Charter Commission. This is a very personal memoir, how a young boy learned, adapted, suffered and endured, to finally find his own identity in a complex world.

In the Khmer language the name Chann means moon, so this is an apt title reflecting the full person he has become today. And this is a story Chann had to tell, both for his own clarity, as well as a gift to share with others. His mother was not able to care for him or his sister, Tanya, beginning a yearslong journey from child abuse situations to loving godparents and grandmother, nurturing foster families, a state-run group home, finally to a caring adoptive family.

The years from toddler to young adult were difficult — constant change, exposure to domestic violence, conflicting behavior expectations, trying to fit in at home and school, making friends, facing the growing realization that he is gay. His adoptive parents were Pentecostal evangelicals who would not accept homosexuality, forcing Chann to hide his feelings, even looking to the church to correct his “sin.”

His formative years were marked by conflict, uncertainty, confusion and contradiction, but his love of music, books and learning, coupled with his own moral courage gave him the strength to overcome all obstacles: “There isn’t much you can do to change your past. You can, however, find ways to change your present.”



Cooper and Packrat, two 13-year-old boys and best pals, are back in another exciting mystery by Turner author Tamra Wight. This mystery is a clever wildlife-based story for middle-grade readers.

This is the fifth book featuring the boys and their buddies experiencing wildlife adventures of suspense, mystery and action, and is set at the Wilder Family Campground during a winter festival in February. All of the mysteries in this series are based on Maine wildlife — loons, eagles, fox, bear and now the winter lynx (similar to a bobcat).

COOPER & PACKRAT:  MYSTERY OF THE LOST LYNX by Tamra Wight; Islandport Press, 2022; 241 pages, $14.95; ISBN 978-1-952-14336-6.

Wight not only creates engaging mysteries for young readers, she educates with background details of animals and nature, as well as woodcraft like camping, fishing and hiking. Since this is a mid-winter story, readers will learn about ice fishing, dog sledding, skijoring (cross-country skiing pulled by a sled dog) and building a comfy snow shelter.

Cooper, Packrat, Roy and Summer help out at the festival, where they meet a girl named Wynter and her mother who are visiting from Canada with two dog sled teams. In the woods, the kids discover clear evidence of illegal poaching targeting lynx and other animals. Subtle clues and vague suspicion test friendships and trust, but it is the adults who bear watching. The poacher is ruthless and is not working alone.

As the kids (three boys, two girls) investigate, they find themselves in danger at an old airplane crash site on a mountain in a snowstorm. Their plans to capture the poacher go awry, and a snowy pursuit leads them right into a trap.  Can the kids trust anyone? Even each other? Or will young teenage hormones betray them?

Learn how Packrat got his nickname, and about what he really carries in all those deep pockets of his trench coat.

Bill Bushnell lives and writes in Harpswell.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: