Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
I had been wanting to read this book for a while and last year when I went with a friend to see a creative dramatic production based on the book, it moved even higher on my list. Since I kicked off a monthly program on folktales and started out with a story from China, I used that as an excuse to read this book and booktalk it at the program.
Anyway, I can’t say enough about what a powerful experience it was to read this book. I talk to parents all of the time about the importance and power of storytelling in the family and the way stories can inspire strength and resilience in children. I also have worked hard to instill in myself a sense of gratitude and contentment for the simple joys in life, rather than the discontent that comes from always striving for more material things. This book highlights both of these things mixed in with a strong heroine (Minli) who, inspired by her father's magical stories, takes an exciting adventure and meets some extraordinary friends who guide and shape her journey. Throw in books with mysterious writing, magical red threads and dragon pearls and you have a story that completely captured my imagination. Grace Lin said part of her inspiration for this book came when a child told her in elementary school that she could not play Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz because Dorothy was not Chinese. Although Lin’s story is very unique and original, the Oz inspiration is not hard to find.
While writing this review, I also discovered that Lin has written a second book similar to this one. It is called Starry River of the Sky and I just added it to my want to read list.