I had been a little bit on the fence about whether or not I would write posts here on the main blog page about the books that have been the subject of our read aloud enthusiasm on the Book Along. But after giving it some thought, I decided that Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is such a unique and luminous book that keeping it a secret from those of you who aren't in on the Book Along fun right now would be somehow unfair. In other words, if you don't already know this book, you need to.
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin is a deftly crafted tale that interweaves traditional Chinese folktales with the lives of our more modern-day protaganists, namely a young girl named Minli and her hardworking but impoverished parents. In the beginning of the book, Minli sets out on a journey reminiscent of that of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, meeting new friends along the way, and succeeding in her quest primarily because of her quick thinking and kind heart. It is a classic litarary hero's quest, but with a number of creative twists that make the story feel new and alive.
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is one of those rare books that appears to be equally beloved by parents and children alike. When we finished reading the other night, Mariam looked at me and said "That is definitely one of the best books that I have ever read." Reviews on sites that poll the opinions of both adults and children seem to indicate similar feelings. This is a book about courage, friendship, love and gratitude. It is about forgiveness and patience and about finding your place in the world and appreciating it despite any imperfections. Above all, this book is a grand adventure that is wryly humorous, action-packed and in the end, extremely touching without being saccharine. There is something here for readers of every level, and the lessons of the narrative ring clear and true, even in places where Lin allows them to exist subtly within the story.
Honestly, I can't recommend this book highly enough. From the illustrations to the dialog, Lin might well have achieved perfection with this story. And, for those of you looking to close out summer vacation with a read aloud that all of your kids can listen to together, this may well be your book.