Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

by Grace Lin (2009)

A Sweet Spot and Intermediate selection.

Incurs mild surcharge when selected for OSOB or other RTT family literacy programs.

 

“Our house is bare and our rice hardly fills our bowls, but we have plenty of stories.”

Minli lives in the Valley of the Fruitless Mountain where she and her parents work tirelessly to put food on their table. Each night, Minli finds herself nourished by her father’s tales – especially the story of the Old Man of the Moon, who is said to have the answers to everything.

Everything includes the answer to bringing Minli’s family good fortune… right?

“I am going to Never-Ending Mountain to ask the Old Man of the Moon how I can change our fortune. I might be away for many days, but don’t worry. I will be fine. When I come back, we will be able to fill our house with gold and jade.”

It’s the inspiration of a talking goldfish – who Minli releases in the Jade River – that gives Minli the direction and confidence to leave her home with a modest bag of supplies and embark on an unforgettable journey through Ancient China. She comes to the aid of a dragon who cannot fly, dines with the King of the City of Bright Moonlight, and even comes face to face with a fierce tiger! 

The novel is punctuated by stunning, colorful illustrations– such as the bridge of red thread spanning across the heavens in the third act– that are sure to dazzle readers of all ages. Lin has also masterfully woven Chinese folktales into the text, making it so we are just like Minli in traveling and waiting to be enlightened by the next tale or interpreter. 

Wisdom is delivered from peasants and royalty and even that talking goldfish, but best of all, by dragons. The ultimate message of Lin’s dazzling story is not an unfamiliar one: “You can only lose what you cling to.” Lin gives readers ample, patient opportunity to grasp the importance of simple virtues like Patience, Thankfulness, and Appreciation. Readers will find themselves awed at the opportunity to hold up a book like Where the Mountain Meets the Moon as a mirror to remind us what is valuable and worth treasuring.

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