Pragmatic Mom

January 20, 2010

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

Grace Lin is the children’s literature version of Amy Tan. Her latest book, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is her best yet.  She weaves Chinese folk tales into a tapestry of stories where the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts.   There is always a  sweetness and  innocence to her writing; there are always loving parents and children learning to believe in themselves and their culture.

This could be Grace Lin’s own story. A RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) graduate, she dreamed as a child to become a children’s author and illustrator. And, it turns out, she did this with her best friend from childhood…the one who moves away to California just like her book The Year of the Rat.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is an Asian-American version of the Percy Jackson series starting with The Lightening Thief. Where Riordan weaves in Greek Mythology into his plot, Grace Lin uses Chinese Folk Tales into a wonderful, inspiring and heart-warming story that teaches all of us to just… BELIEVE.

My kids’ friends in 5th grade all voted this book the best book they’ve read this year. It is age appropriate for 8-12-year-olds, but frankly I enjoyed it too. Grace LIn gives a wonderful bibliography of Chinese Folk Tales that she used in the writing of the tale. She has beautifully illustrated this book to resemble Chinese paper cut-out art mixed in with 4 color paintings.  I’ll be shocked and surprised if she doesn’t win a slew of awards for this book!

If you are interested in a book discussion comparing Where the Mountain Meets the Moon to The Lightening Thief, I came up with some open-ended questions.  Some might require outside research.

1)  How old are the Chinese Folk Tales approximately?  How old are the Greek Myths?

2) Do you see any similarities in any of the stories?  Why do you think there might be similar stories?

3) What causes rain?  How do Chinese Folk Tales explain rain?  How about Greek Mythology?  Why do you think they have these stories?  What makes rain so important to the ancient Chinese?  ancient Greeks?

4) What causes death?  How do Chinese Folk Tales explain death?  How about Greek Mythology?  Which story do you like better?

5) Do we have any myths or beliefs that we can portent the future?  What about fortune tellers or psychics?  Who do you go to in Chinese Folk Tales to get your future told?  How about in Greek Mythology?  Why is knowing the future so important to people?  Are we so different than ancient Greeks or ancient Chinese?

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1 Comment »

  1. Our mother-daughter bookgroup read this not long ago and all loved it!

    Comment by nancy — January 20, 2010 @ 5:05 pm | Reply


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