Author: Grace Lin
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Publication Date: July 2009
Summary: This story is about Minli and how the tales her father tells her lead her on a great adventure when she decides to take her fate into her own hands. She sets off in search of good fortune for her family and meets a dragon who cannot fly and many others on her way to meet with the Man in the Moon.
What I Think: I really think Grace Lin has outdone herself with Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. Her writing is excellent. I love the imagery that she creates with her descriptions. The story is so magical while at the same time feeling very possible. She brings to life dragons and other magical creatures with such ease. It doesn’t feel forced at all, it just seems normal to be talking to dragons and goldfish and lions.
I feel like this book pays homage to folk literature. She weaves in Minli’s story with the folk tales her father tells her and the stories she hears from characters she encounters on her journey. It’s amazing how the stories go back and forth from Minli’s story but at the same time are such an integral part of Minli’s story. Readers don’t realize right away how Minli’s story is really a new folk tale that hinges itself upon the others until close to the end. As a teacher, I think this book would be great to tie in with a lesson or unit on folk literature or at least on Chinese culture and folklore.
Read Together: 4 - 6
Read Alone: 4 - 8
Read With: Luka and the Fire of Life by Salman Rushdie, non-fiction about Chinese culture, other Chinese folklore
Snatch of Text: "Every morning, before the sun rose, Minli, her mother, and her father began work in the fields. It was planting season, which was especially grueling. The mud stuck to their feet like glue and each seedling had to be painstakingly planted by hand. When the hot sun burned overhead, Minli’s knees shook from weariness. She hated the feeling of thick, soggy mud in her hands and face; and many times she wanted to stop in irritation and exhaustion. But seeing her parents patiently working, backs bent, made her swallow her complaints and continue." p.11
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Visualizing, Making Connections
Writing Strategies to Practice: Descriptive, Personal Narrative
Writing Prompts: Describe a time in your life when you had to do something you really didn't want to do.
Topics Covered: Family, Loyalty, Trust, Determination, Courage, Friendship, Honesty, Taking Risks, Faith