Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

by Grace Lin

Grace Lin's Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Children's book review by Sarah Denslow

Ages 8-12

Grace Lin’s Newberry Honor book Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is the completely charming and engaging tale of a young girl trying to change her family’s fortune.

Minli, the young heroine of the novel, lives in a village at the base of the Fruitless Mountain. As the name implies, it’s a barren landscape, and Minli and her family have to work very hard just to have enough rice to stay alive.

Why? Well, according to the story Minli’s father tells, it’s because of the grief of Jade Dragon who longs to be reunited with her children. The Fruitless Mountain is the broken heart of the Jade Dragon, and until the spirit of the dragon can find some joy the mountain will remain bare.

Minli, however, is determined to change her family’s fortune. Having heard about him from her father’s stories, she resolves to find the all-knowing Old Man of the Moon and ask him how it might be done. After getting directions from a very unique goldfish, Minli sets out on a fantastic journey.

Along the way Minli meets a wonderful variety of characters, including a dragon who travels with her throughout the journey. Each character (some human, some animal) Minli meets has its own story to tell. This is, in my opinion, one of the nicest aspects of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.

Through the book's many stories, Lin creates a wonderfully rich world. Although each story stands on its own, all the stories fit together like puzzle pieces to create a larger narrative that ultimately leads to a wonderfully satisfying ending.

Apart from the stories, another one of my favorite parts of this book are the illustrations. Lin provides many more illustrations than are typically found in a book of this length. Not only are they beautiful, but they also really help to create a sense of the beauty and magic of Minli’s world.

Review continues below.

Before and after images from Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

I highly recommend Grace Lin’s thoroughly enchanting Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. It is an excellent book for established readers to read on their own, and also a good book to read aloud with younger readers.

More children's books set in foreign lands.

Read more of Sarah's reviews.

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