Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

by Grace Lin

Hardcover, 2009

Call number



Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (2009), Edition: First Edition, 288 pages


Minli, an adventurous girl from a poor village, buys a magical goldfish, and then joins a dragon who cannot fly on a quest to find the Old Man of the Moon in hopes of bringing life to Fruitless Mountain and freshness to Jade River.

Media reviews

Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices
CCBC (Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices 2010) Life is hard in Minli’s Village of Fruitless Mountain, where she lives with Ba and Ma, her father and mother. Despite their hardships, Minli finds joy in the magical stories Ba tells at dinner each evening. When Minli spends her family’s
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last two coins to buy a goldfish, the fantasy of her father’s stories merges with the bleak reality of their daily life. Unable to feed the fish, Minli releases it in the river, and in payment the fish tells her how to get to Never-Ending Mountain. There, Minli knows, she can ask a question of the Old Man of the Moon. Determined to find out how to change the fortune of her town, she sets off. Grace Lin deftly inserts a series of tales inspired by traditional Chinese folktales into the larger tapestry of Minli’s extraordinary journey that is full of adventure and trials. Gorgeous book design augments this fast-paced fantasy, including occasional full-page color illustrations, chapter heading decorations, and a typeface treatment that visually distinguishes the folktale segments from the overarching story of Minli’s quest. CCBC Category: Fiction for Children. 2009, Little, Brown, 278 pages, $16.99. Ages 8-11.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member Whisper1
This 2010 Newbery honor book is sheer delight. It is an infusion of beautiful illustrations, lovely fonts, colorful images and an incredible, intricate weaving of a timeless lesson of what matters in life.

Minli lives in a poor village. Her parents eek out a living planting rice in the mud. While
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her father's spirit is vibrant and loving, her mother's spirit is harsh and cold. Listening to her father's Chinese folk tales brings solace from a difficult life.

To alleviate her mother's harshness and need for a better life, Minli begins a journey to reach the old man of the moon. Every ninety-nine years the old man of wisdom answers one question. Minli hopes she will be granted an audience and successfully ask for financial rewards to enable happiness for her mother.

Along the way, Minli meets many who impart lessons, including a wonderful flightless dragon.

This is a magical book wherein the author imparts wisdom to all regarding the meaning of true happiness.

Highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member nittnut
A wonderful story of a girl who goes on a journey to change her family's fortune. Along the way she learns about being happy with what you have, where you are.
Sprinkled throughout the story are Chinese folk tales, which add a great deal of charm to the story. One of my most memorable reads this
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LibraryThing member _Zoe_
This one was recommended by a fellow LT-er, and I'm glad she suggested it! It's a children's book based on Chinese myths and legends, which were completely unknown to me. I appreciated the author's note at the end explaining a bit about how she crafted this story by fleshing out the underdeveloped
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characters of the traditional tales, and it was also interesting to hear how she approached her Chinese heritage as an American.

The story itself is focused on an enthusiastically idealistic girl named Minli. Her family is barely making ends meet, so she leaves home in an attempt to discover how to change their fate. On her travels she encounters royalty, dragons, and plenty of stories: the main narrative regularly breaks off while a character recounts a tale, and these tales are later woven back into the central story in a satisfying way.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a sort of warm-fuzzy fairy tale, where good people are ultimately rewarded and bad people are ultimately punished. It has a strong moral, but it doesn't feel forced. I enjoyed reading about Minli's adventures, and the beautiful illustrations really added to the reading experience. In short, this is one I'd recommend.

As a final note, this was a 2010 Newbery Honor book, and I have to say I liked it far more than the actual winner.
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LibraryThing member -Cee-
Here is a captivating fantasy of a child seeking good fortune for her impoverished family. Minli, a Chinese child who believes in the possibility of a better world for all, sets out on a journey to find answers to eternal questions. Her quest is jam-packed with folklore and adventure.

This book is
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for children but can be enjoyed by all ages. It is wise and delightful. The literary imagery is stunning. The illustrations are charming. You will be glad you took some time to see the world again through a child's eyes. Nothing seems impossible.
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LibraryThing member mirrani
An amazing book on Chinese culture that seamlessly blends the folk tales into "reality" as the main character, Minli, goes about making her way through the world to seek a fortune for her family based solely on the stories her father has told her in the past. Along the way we meet characters who
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are all interconnected. It just proves that there are less degrees of separation than we dare to realize.

The visuals in this book, though short, were stunning. There is simply no way to explain or describe how a writer can create such stunning imagery with only a sentence or two. One does not need the illustrations to imagine the characters faces in this book, nor the places they travel to. These images simply appear in your mind as if they have always been there, as if you have always known who they are.

Anyone reading this book will not only take a part of the Chinese culture away with them, but will somehow leave a part of themselves with the book as well. All is magic within these pages. A definite must-read for younger readers, book lovers and dragon lovers alike.
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LibraryThing member ejmust
Minli sets off on a quest, leaving Fruitless Mountain and her parents, in order to find the answers from the Old Man in the Moon on how to find fortune for her family that lives in poverty. This fantastical journey is filled with delightful characters that help Minli, and try to stop her, on her
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quest. Chinese fables and folktales are woven into the story, and with the help of the flightless dragon, who is on his own quest, they find even more answers than they are looking for. The longing of her parents as they hope for Minli's safe return is heart-warming, as are the other relationships throughout the book.
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LibraryThing member smohri
I love this book. I loved the illustrations, the use of language, the strength and innocence of the main character, and the magical way in which everything tied together.
LibraryThing member oapostrophe
Minli's mother sighs with dissatisfaction at her lack of wealth all the time. Her father will tell a story. Minli loves to hear her father tell his stories. One day a goldfishman comes to their little town on Fruitless Mountain and Minli spends one of her two coins on a goldfish. Her mother is
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quite upset at the extra mouth to feed
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LibraryThing member dominirose
A completely satisfying book. Intricate, sincere, and beautiful.
LibraryThing member kthomp25
Written by a young American-Chinese woman who as an adult embraces her Asian heritage. She weaves old Chinese tales into a new story but imbues them with Asian-American sensibilities. This would be a good story to read aloud over an extended period. Tales within the story extend the experience and
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are accompanied by engaging artwork.
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LibraryThing member francescadefreitas
This was a delightful folktale-ish story of a girl who leaves her home and parents in search of advice from a mythical creature. The short chapters are perfect for reading aloud, and the diverse stories all tie into a highly satisfying conclusion.
LibraryThing member amandaonfire252
This book tells a story of an impoverished Asian family living in China and the adventure that Minli, the main character goes through to find her family after trying to find a character in her father's story. Minli's father loved to read stories to Minli and Minli's mother was always worried about
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being so poor and not having enough of everything she wanted for her family. After Minli chases after this character out of her father's story; bothe her and her mother learns a huge lesson about what is important in life.

This book to me was a charming folktale drawing upon traditional chinese elements. The courage and strength that Minli has is inspirational and shows positive rolemodeling. I would recommend this book for various ages.

I would use this book in the classroom as a tool to aid in the discussion of poverty or circumstance and the all impportant lesson of being happy with who you are. This book is also good for intercultural experiences.
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LibraryThing member Kiwiria
Very sweet book for children. It has many similarities to "The Wizard of Oz" and will probably attract much the same audience. I did think that all the included Chinese folktales made it more interesting though, as I'm not terribly familiar with that culture, but terribly fascinated by it.

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charming story. No great page-turner, but it'll probably be good for reading aloud.
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LibraryThing member prkcs
Minli, an adventurous girl from a poor village, buys a magical goldfish, and then joins a dragon who cannot fly on a quest to find the Old Man of the Moon in hopes of bringing life to Fruitless Mountain and freshness to Jade River.
LibraryThing member ewyatt
Minli goes on a journey to ask the Old Man of the Moon a question about her family's fortune. Intertwined in her adventure, Chinese folktales are woven into the story. Minli meets fantastic creatures along the way and has to use her wits and compassion to find the answers she seeks and make it back
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home to her beloved family.
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LibraryThing member edspicer
Lin, Grace. (2009). Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. New York: Little, Brown. 282 pp. ISBN 978-0-316-11427-1 (Hardcover); $16.99

Grace Lin states in her author’s note that she used, at times, poorly translated Chinese folktales and mythologies as the inspiration for this book, which makes me
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wonder what she would have written with better source material. Fortunately generations of readers to come will have her fully fleshed out, layered, gorgeously written Classic-to-be to read and read again. Minli lives in the valley of the Fruitless Mountain with her father who tells her stories and her mother who tries to instill practical, realistic advice in Minli. Wishing to help the parents she loves, Minli travels to find the Old Man of the Moon to ask him how to change the lot of her family. Along the way readers meet the Goldfish man with his amazing fish, the jade dragon, some very selfish monkeys, and more. The book reads like poetry and it is in the poetic details that we see the strengths of this novel. On page 32, for just one example, we read Minli’s list of things she is putting on the blanket to take with her. This list is like a shape poem of the magic goldfish. The stories within the story are not the bland, thin stories that Lin tells of in her author’s note, they are stories that inspire dreams and add dimension to Minli’s journey. This journey comes full circle when future children travel to hear Minli’s story at the home of her prospering parents. Another strength is in the growth of the parents, especially Minli’s mother who learns to value stories, especially when times are difficult as they are when Ma uses her chopsticks to feed the fish in the bowl (p. 117). The full color illustrations, also by Grace Lin (!), add that classic element to this beautiful, graceful book that should show up on the Newbery list this January.
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LibraryThing member CarmellaLee
Personal Response: This book of stories or fairy tales lends a reader to enjoy the variety of Chinese folktales that are traditional and old.

Curricular or Programming Connections: Folktales of the Chinese and how they are unique to each one's respective culture.
LibraryThing member booschnoo
This is a good example of a fairy tale because it is an imaginative plot involving magical creatures. It has a girl journeying with a dragon and overcoming supernatural and improbable events.
The main character of this book is Minli. She is a well-developed character that is easy to relate to,
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because we have all been in a position where we want to change our fortune or destiny. She illustrates growth throughout the book starting with a focus on what is not important and gradually realizing through a series of events what is important.
Age: Intermediate
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LibraryThing member Sandra305
This is a beautiful and timeless story that will appeal to readers of all ages. The writing is extraordinary, the stories are memorable, and the illustrations are exquisite. I love all the wonderful characters Minli meets on her journey to find the Old Man of the Moon (especially the dragon), and I
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love the richness of the Chinese folklore woven throughout the book. Truly a classic!
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LibraryThing member bell7
Minli and her parents live in a poor village by Fruitless Mountain. Though her parents, Ma and Ba, work hard, they only make enough to have just enough rice for themselves. Minli's father tells her stories, but her mother doesn't think that the stories do anything but fill Minli's head with
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fanciful thinking. Then, Minli runs away to see if she can find the Old Man in the Moon - just like her father's stories say she can to change her fortune.

This story felt like one of those dolls that have a smaller one inside, on and on, until the very smallest is revealed at the center. In this tale, story after story after story is revealed in such a way that the reader slowly sees the connections. Despite Ma's feeling, this is truly a celebration of stories and their power. Minli's quest has a mythical feel to it, just like the stories Ba tells his family.
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LibraryThing member KarenBall
Set in ancient China, this would be a good choice for anyone going into 7th grade. Minli and her parents live in a poor village, barely growing enough food to keep from starving. Minli's father tells stories each night, and Minli gets the idea to go visit the Old Man of the Moon to ask if she can
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change her family's fortune. Her directions to his home come from a talking goldfish, and she meets a kind dragon who cannot fly and some extremely obnoxious monkeys as she travels on her quest. The chapters are short and include brief tales based on Chinese folklore and myths. Wonderful writing, short chapters and full color illustrations make this a fantastic choice! Newbery Honor book: 6th grade and up.
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LibraryThing member jfoster_sf
This was such a wonderful story! This is a story about Minli, a young girl from a poor village. Every night her father tells her fantastic stories, one being a story of the Old Man on the Moon, who knows the answer to every question. She decides to leave home on a quest to find the Old Man on the
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Moon and ask how she can change her family's fortune. On her quest she meets many wonderful and memorable characters, and in the end finds the answer to all her questions. This story is filled with wonderful stories, each with a lesson to be learned. I can't wait to get a hold of Grace Lin's other books and see if they're as good!
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LibraryThing member Menagerie
I can not say enough nice things about Where The Mountain Meets the Moon. I picked it up at a Scholastic bookfair. My daughter (8) loves all things dragon and this book sounded like it fit the bill. We thoroughly enjoyed reading this book together. Minli sets off on a journey to try and change her
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family's fortune. Along the way she meets Dragon and they travel far and wide trying to find Neverending Mountain where the Old Man lives. He alone holds the book of Fate. On their way to meet him, Minli and Dragon encounter a king, a buffalo boy, an evil Tiger and a village of generous, loving people.

As with any good book, the journey is what counts and this book is entertaining and thought-provoking all the way to the end.The author cites various Chinese myths and stories as the inspiration for this book and I think we will read some of those stories as well. The hardcover edition is beautifully hand-drawn by the author and there are several wonderful drawings inside as well as a different woodcut image at the beginning of every chapter.
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LibraryThing member geraly
i just finished reading Grace Lin's Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. over the years we've read a few of Lin's books - Dim Sum for Everyone, Fortune Cookie Fortunes and Lissy's Friends. i'm always so impressed with her stories and illustrations. there's something about them that is so carefully
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crafted and well... full of grace. :) her latest novel is absolutely dazzling. from goodreads:

"In the Valley of Fruitless Mountain, a young girl named Minli spends her days working hard in the fields and her nights listening to her father spin fantastic tales about the Jade Dragon and the Old Man of the Moon. Minli’s mother, tired of their poor life, chides him for filling her head with nonsense. But Minli believes these enchanting stories and embarks on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man of the Moon and ask him how her family can change their fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest."

paloma got to read it first when we got it from the library. i was a little worried because she's only 7 and i've read reviews that it's geared towards 10 yos. but she picked it up eagerly - see dragon on cover - and finished it within a few days. she knew that i wanted to read it to her, but she couldn't wait. she even teased me, letting me know where she was in the book and what fantastical event was happening. she also kept complaining that peaches were not in season now and their constant presence in the book made her crave them. as soon as she finished, and i picked it up, she continually asked me, "where are you? are you done yet?"

finally, i read it and was so sad to put it down... unlike my experience with The Anybodies, i couldn't put it down. although both books focus on young girls with seemingly impossible quests, magical circumstances and creatures, i felt so much more sympathy and appreciation for minli. i loved every character really - even the silly laughing stone lion cub. minli's incredible adventure and the fables/parables interwoven into her story are as gorgeous and lush as the peaches she eats, the dragon well tea she drinks and the moon rain flowers that bloom. grace lin's pacing, prolific language, luminous and detailed illustrations complete the perfect package. it was especially clear to me that because of paloma's deep interest in all kinds of myths and fairytales and her own sense of innocent fearlessness that she feels a kindred spirit in minli.

last but not least, grace lin writes a final note at the end of the book - here's part of it:

"By the age of eleven, I had fully disregarded my Asian heritage. My wise mother, knowing that any type of forced cultural exposure would lead to scorn, silently left half a dozen Chinese folktale and fairy-tale books on the bookshelf. Unable to resist the pull of a new book, I very quietly began to read them."

she continues to say that she was disappointed at first in the translations and illustrations of the stories. however, eventually, she overlooked these flaws and rediscovered the core beauty of the stories and her asian roots.

as an asian american woman and now mother, i can totally relate to grace and her mom. there was a time in my life (hello, 1980s chicago!) when i found it too difficult to "be filipino enough". i didn't speak tagalog, bisaya or ilocano. for a filipino - i was too dark, too tall with an athletic, instead of lithe and willowy, build. i didn't play piano. i was far from graceful, etc... and the very prominent asymetrical cystic hygroma on my neck didn't help matters either.

but my father, like minli's, is an excellent storyteller. when he would visit, he would always retell stories about Juan Tamad other filipino mythical creatures like aswangs and wakwaks. it helped me to realize that i shouldn't dwell on not being filipino enough... i realized how proud i was that we had our own folktales... that i should focus on learning everything i could about what being filipino meant to me how my meager offerings would add to that definition.

as a mom, i worry that paloma and porkchop will also feel a disconnect to their filipino sides. like grace lin's mom, i have left many filipino children's books on their bookshelves to read. and they do! :) we will have to add Where the Mountain Meets the Moon to our collection. i'm especially thankful for this wonderful book, that exists among other not so great multicultural books, in that it might remind my children of the wonder of their own heritage, to reflect on what it means to be thankful, to have faith, to be patient, to understand what it means to be courageous, to read more, to tell stories and dream bigger - all the way up to the moon and back again....
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LibraryThing member LarissaBookGirl
Minli's world is dull, shadowed by the dark mountain, lying beside the murky river with only the muddy rice fields for company. The only bright spot in Minli's world is the colourful stories her father told her in the evenings after a hard days work in the rice fields. Minli's father had many
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stories and Minli had many questions, but always her father told her 'that is a question you will have to ask the Old Man of the Moon'. So one day Minli decided to do just that.

On the instructions of a talking fish Minli leaves her home in search of Never-Ending Mountain, the home of the Old Man of the Moon. Minli has many questions, but the one she wishes to know the answer to most of all is how her mother and father may be happier and not have to spend their lives working so hard for so little. On the way Minli meets dragons, monkeys, Kings, tigers and a little white rabbit all in her quest to change her family's fortune.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a fable of friendship, belief and thoughtfulness. It is a timeless story about a girl who believes in fairytales and sets out on an impossible journey, along the way picking up both stories and friends in her quest. A cast of colourful characters demonstrate the true meaning of friendship, courage, good fortune, and happiness. It is easy to see why this delightful book was awarded the 2010 Newbery Honor.
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Young Hoosier Book Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 2012)
Mythopoeic Awards (Finalist — Children's Literature — 2010)
Georgia Children's Book Award (Finalist — 2012)
Utah Beehive Book Award (Nominee — Children's Fiction — 2011)
William Allen White Children's Book Award (Nominee — Grades 3-5 — 2011-2012)
Newbery Medal (Honor Book — 2010)
Nutmeg Book Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 2013)
Bluestem Award (Nominee — 2018)
Sunshine State Young Reader's Award (Nominee — Grades 3-5 — 2012)
Nēnē Award (Nominee — 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
Oregon Reader's Choice Award (Nominee — 2012)
Iowa Children's Choice Award (Nominee — 2013)
Mitten Award (Honor — 2009-2010)
NCSLMA Battle of the Books (Elementary — 2018)
Black-Eyed Susan Book Award (Nominee — Grades 4-6 — 2011)
Massachusetts Book Award (Must-Read (Longlist) — 2010)
Sakura Medal (Chapter Books — 2011)
E.B. White Read-Aloud Award (Honor Book — Older Readers — 2010)
The Best Children's Books of the Year (Nine to Twelve — 2010)




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