Book Rating: 9/10
This passed spring was my last semester of community college, so I decided to take a Children’s Lit class and loved it. It exposed me to all sorts of stories I hadn’t had the pleasure of reading while I was in grade school. One of the books was Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and I thought it was wonderful. Grace Lin did an amazing job of intertwining Chinese folklore into a cohesive coming of age journey.
The story follows little Minli who leaves her poor village in search of the Old Man of the Moon in order to obtain fortune for her family. Along the journey she meets many friends who teach her other folktales that help continue the actions within the story. The main plot line links each of the folktales so they all have a purpose to the general story, but each folktale also teaches a moral lesson that helps Minli grow throughout her journey. I found it to be very engaging and fun to read, especially learning about folklore from another culture. It shocked me how relatable Minli was as well. It didn’t matter that I am from a different culture than the man character, I could see pieces of myself within her and her journey touched me, changed me, in many of the same ways.
By the end of the story, I had to wonder why when I was in grade school we didn’t read more culturally different stories? Something in my textbook said how teachers and school systems are afraid of going beyond their personal culture, because they can’t properly answer questions for the students. Or, how they worry if the story doesn’t pertain to the majority of the culture of the students, in they won’t be able to relate. I think that’s a bit of an excuse, because you can’t learn about other cultures and the differences we all experience if we aren’t exposed to them. Stories are a great and safe way to explore other cultures within a classroom and read stories that pertain to both the majority and the minority creates a more well rounded student. Isn’t that the point of mandated school?
Anyway, I hope you’ll take the time to pick this book up and give it a read. Whether it’s to a niece/nephew, brother/sister, daughter/son, or just for yourself. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a fun, quick read that I think everyone should enjoy.
What was your favorite story you read in grade school? Let me know in the comments or via Twitter.