Monday, March 15, 2010

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Lin, Grace. 2009. WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON. New York: Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316114271 [Suggested Grade Levels 3- 6]

Minli lives with her bone-weary parents in a village at the bottom of Fruitless Mountain. During the day she toils in the rice fields with her family, but at night she listens to her father tell extraordinary tales of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man of the Moon. She takes her father’s stories to heart and decides to leave home to find the Old Man of the Moon and ask him how she can change her family’s fortune. Along her journey, Minli meets a fantastic cast of characters and ultimately discovers the secret of happiness and a way to change her family’s life. “As she looked, Minli realized for the first time, she could read the words… For the line was only made of one word, written over and over again. And that word was Thankfulness.”

Lin has taken inspiration from her childhood love of Chinese folk tales to create new stories that feel like they are hundreds of years old. They are simultaneously fantastic and touchingly real. Lin has also created original, full-color artwork reminiscent of traditional Chinese screen painting that jumps off the page to accent the story.

Conduct a reader’s theater and have children act out the individual stories that Minli’s father and other characters tell in the novel. The use of folktale as moral story and metaphor is very strong in this book. Ask children to think about the story and what lessons each character learns from the stories, as well as what the fantastic creatures may represent.

Other books by Grace Lin:
THE YEAR OF THE DOG. ISBN 9780316060004
THE YEAR OF THE RAT. ISBN 9780316114264

By Cecily Ponce de Leon

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