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Laugh with the Moon

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  893 Ratings  ·  160 Reviews
Laugh with the Moon is on the Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List.

Thirteen-year-old Clare Silver is stuck. Stuck in denial about her mother’s recent death. Stuck in the African jungle for sixty-four days without phone reception. Stuck with her father, a doctor who seems able to heal everyone but Clare.
Clare feels like a fish out of water at Mzanga Full Primary School, wher
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published June 12th 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (first published June 28th 1969)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,945)
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Apr 12, 2014 Amy rated it it was ok
Shelves: children, tween-novel
I would give this 2.5 stars. I approached this book with a little bit of lethargy because I get sick of books about Americans going to foreign countries and realizing how wonderful they are and how spoiled we are. This might be true, to some degree, but it is tiresome and predictable.

This book follows Clare, a 13 year old girl, and her father who spend some time in Malawi after the tragic death of Clare's mother. He is a doctor and works at a clinic and she attends school. Initially Clare is fur
Melanie Swider
Powerful book that fills us with an important level of awareness about life in other countries. Taken place in current day life with smart boards, cell phones, and state testing, the character's life is uplifted to Africa with her father who is a doctor. Although she absolutely dreaded going to Africa in the beginning, her thinking, beliefs, and mindset transformed through her experiences with the people living in the villages.
A must read book!
Destinee Sutton
Aug 13, 2012 Destinee Sutton rated it it was ok
I described this book to a co-worker as "Bummer, bummer, bummer, sappy, sappy, sappy," but that's probably too harsh. Author Shana Burg is a decent writer and the story has some interesting parts. I liked the pidgin English spoken by the Malawian characters (when I was in Namibia we called their version of English "Namblish"), the details of life in the Malawi bush, and the friendship that forms between Clare, a 13-year-old American girl and Memory, a her new classmate in Malawi.

But the bummers
Jan 30, 2012 Anna rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing! I loved it from the start. I could not put it down once I started. I just recently traveled to Tanzania and so many memories were brought back while I was reading this book. It is a wonderful story about a girl named Clare who is made to move with her dad to Malawi for three months while he works as a missionary doctor. She is completely opposed to it in the beginning and is trying to fight the reality of being there as she is also dealing with the loss of her mother. The ...more
Apr 22, 2014 Sidney rated it it was amazing
This is a lovely book - with themes that really touch the heart. While it does move very quickly through the story (probably a little too fast to be believable at times), that fact actually helped keep my attention. While this certainly isn't for every young adult reader (definitely more for female readers who like realistic fiction), it's refreshing and thoughtful.
After her mother's death, Clare Silver and her physician father travel to Malawi, a small African village to administer health aid to the people. Clare, clearly is not in favor of this two-month absence from her friends and the Massachusetts neighborhood that she loves. But, once there, she becomes friends with the gentle people and grows to love them in a way she did not see coming.

With their lack of medical supplies and a proper hospital to care for the sick, she sees death and grief, much li
Kellie Cruz
Oct 09, 2013 Kellie Cruz rated it really liked it
This author is visiting our school next week. Excited to hear her speak about the book and her experiences.
Sep 07, 2013 Lorena rated it did not like it
Slow. Couldn't get into it.
This is one of our small group book choices for our 6th grade theme SOCIAL INJUSTICE in September. Thirteen-year-old Clare is hurting from her mother's death, and now her father has dragged her to Africa where he'll be working in a local hospital, and she'll be attending the village school. She is furious with her father and just wants to be home. When they arrive in Malawi, she is greeted by a large monkey drinking a Coke. This is just the beginning of feeling like a fish out of water. However, ...more
Mar 20, 2014 Angie rated it really liked it
Clare's mother has died. Her father is a doctor and decides to move them to Malawi where he will work in a local hospital. Needless to say, Clare is not thrilled. She doesn't want to leave her home, her friends and where she knew her mom. Once they get to Malawi it is complete culture shock. Everything from the living conditions to the food to the school is 100% different than what she is used to. However, Clare makes friends with Memory and her brother Innocent. She starts fitting in at school ...more
Xander ForeverBookish
Nov 25, 2014 Xander ForeverBookish rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
When Claire moves to Malawi for two months because of her dad who is a doctor and works for the Global Health Project, she gives her dad the silent treatment. Her life has become terrible after her mom died eight months ago. Then Clare starts going to Mzanga Full Primary and feels out of place. Then, she meets Memory, Innocent and Saidi and becomes friends. As Claire lives in Malawi, she learns to be grateful for what she has and be happy instead of sad. This heart-warming story teaches you how ...more
Alex Baugh
Oct 17, 2012 Alex Baugh rated it really liked it
Shelves: randomly-reading
From the Publisher:
Thirteen-year-old Clare Silver is stuck. Stuck in denial about her mother's recent death. Stuck in the African jungle for sixty-four days without phone reception. Stuck with her father, a doctor who seems able to heal everyone but Clare.
Clare feels like a fish out of water at Mzanga Full Primary School, where she must learn a new language. Soon, though, she becomes immersed in her new surroundings and impressed with her fellow students, who are crowded into a tiny space, worki
Margo Tanenbaum
Sep 01, 2012 Margo Tanenbaum rated it it was amazing
Having recently returned from my first trip to Africa, I was eager to read this new novel by author Shana Burg which takes place in Malawi. Thirteen-year old Clare has just suffered one of the worst losses a child can imagine--her mother has died, leaving her family consisting of just her and her father, a doctor who seems to care about everyone else more than Clare. At least that's the way she feels when he up and moves the two of them to rural Malawi for several months, where he will be workin ...more
Aug 13, 2012 Tasha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
After her mother dies, Clare’s father takes her to Malawi where he had worked as a young doctor. Clare is determined to never speak to her father again. She has lost not just her mother, but her best friend and the potential for her first boyfriend at school. Now she is stuck in Africa where there is little hot water, mosquito netting over the bed, and monkeys screaming outside. As Clare starts to relax into life in Africa, she begins to make incredible friends at her new school. Memory, a girl ...more
Cindy Hudson
Jan 30, 2013 Cindy Hudson rated it it was amazing
The last place thirteen-year-old Clare wants to be is on an airplane with her dad heading to a village in Malawi, Africa for two months. She’s still grieving over her mother’s unexpected death nearly a year ago, and she’s angry that her dad seems to be moving on with his life. She’s determined not to like anything about Africa once she gets there.

But the more Clare gets to know the people in the village and learn about their lives, the more she wants to know. And in her friend, Memory, Clare may
Sandra Stiles
I can't imagine being thirteen and losing my mother. I have had many students who have had to go through this heart-rending situation. What made this story even more emotional was knowing that Clare's father pulled her from everything and everyone she knew and loved and moved her to Malawi for six months. Her father was excited to go back to a country he had worked in before. Clare had decided to give her dad the silent treatment for the entire six months. It's funny how meeting someone who has ...more
Apr 25, 2012 Michelle rated it really liked it
Shana Burg's Laugh with the Moon is such a complex yet simple book that packs a hefty emotional punch. (I cried while reading the last fourth of the book; and, a month later, I still get emotional just thinking about writing this review.) Before I write what may sound like criticisms (but are not!) I want to put what I will say into context. Have you ever had someone tell you a story about a "friend?" A story about something so bad or sad or hard that the insulation of the "friend" was required, ...more
Sep 14, 2013 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: middle schoolers
Recommended to Sarah by: my aunt
Shelves: favorites
Laugh with the Moon is a realistic, fictional book about a young teenager who is forced to go to Malawi, Africa with her dad, a volunteer doctor. Clare is mourning the death of her mother and is mad at her father because she doesn't want to leave her friends and her life in Boston.

When Clare gets to Africa, she is upset because she misses lots of things she had owned or had access to that don’t exist in Malawi such as cell phone service and hot, long showers. What she didn't realize was that wha
Nov 04, 2013 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews
Clare Silver lost her mother recently. So now she is yanked out of her town etc. to go with her father on a trip to Malawi and into the jungle from there. She can't keep in touch with her friends because there aren't any towers close enough to make international calls. Once there she meets Memory and she knew right off that they would be friends. Clare attended school at Mzanga Full Primary School and was struggling to learn the language. In the school they sat on the floor so she tried to sit c ...more
Jul 20, 2012 Kathleen rated it it was amazing
Throughout every moment of this book, I felt like I was right there experiencing everything with Clare Silver. I loved this rich story about family and friendship bonds, and what is important in life. I really think the title ties into the whole book so perfectly--and you'll discover how as Clare figures out how she can fit into an African village that she is plopped down into after her mother passes and her father, a doctor, is now working in a malaria stricken hospital. The characters were so ...more
Michal Hope
Jun 19, 2014 Michal Hope rated it it was amazing
This is a great book about a girl, Clare, who has lost her mother and temporarily moved with her father (a doctor) to Malawi. She meets a local girl, Memory, who also has lost her mother and her father. She also becomes "mother" to a chicken named Fred. Clare must learn to adjust to a new way of life without the conveniences of American living while her father works at the local hospital. Clare attends a local school and finds a way to grieve her mother's passing through the opportunity to teach ...more
Laura Phelps
Jun 20, 2012 Laura Phelps rated it it was amazing
Shelves: possiblemsba2012
Thirteen year old Clare is grieving for her mother when she is abruptly displaced from her home near Boston and is brought to Malawi by her father, who is working there temporarily as a doctor. Clare’s anger and grief are manifested in a very real way (she gives her dad an extended silent treatment) but slowly she starts to make friends and become involved in the village school. I appreciated that both Clare and the Malawi kids that she befriends evolve over the course of the book, but remain mu ...more
Melissa Storm
May 03, 2012 Melissa Storm rated it really liked it
This was a wonderful book. I don't read much middle grade, but wow! The author captured the innocence and confusion of youth in a way that was engaging for readers of any age. I felt like I was right there with Clare exploring Malawi culture and making new friends (and frenemies).

Great literature can transport you to another time and place, and Laugh with the Moon does just that. I felt like a giggling school girl crushing on Saidi, wanting to punish my dad for being annoying, and trying to do
Jul 14, 2014 Colleen rated it really liked it
Laugh with the Moon is the story of Clare, a thirteen year old girl, who is brought to Africa with her father for part of the summer after her mother dies. The story is a combination of her adjusting to life in Africa and coping with the loss of her mother. She makes friends, deals with a tragedy, and evolves as a character. My favorite aspects of this middle school book were learning about the African community with whom Clare lives and the growth of the character. If you have a sensitive child ...more
Feb 16, 2013 Sara rated it it was amazing
Once again Shana Burg writes a beautiful book, this time centered through thirteen-year-old Clare's perspective. Her mother has died within the past year, and her doctor father takes this only child to Malawi, Africa, or to Clare's mind, the middle of nowhere. And certainly, Malawi is remote. Although it might seem a cliche to say that Clare's attitude changes and her heart heals, I loved how we change along with Clare as we learn to love the village life, the school, the friends she makes, and ...more
Feb 22, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it
The strength of this book is its depiction of life in Malawi. The main character, Clare, moves there with her father as a way to work through their grief over the loss of her mother. Her culture shock, gradual acceptance, and final love for her African experience feels very real.

It takes some time for this story to find its voice; the first few chapters are awkward. But we eventually get swept into Clare's adventure: her friends and enemies; her stint as a teacher; her romantic interest; her li
Nov 30, 2013 Samantha rated it really liked it
After Clare's mother dies suddenly, her father drags her off to Africa where he will volunteer in a Malawi hospital for the poor natives. At first Clare is angry and can't understand why her father isn't grieving her mother's death, but slowly, she begins to understand that "sometimes even mourners must laugh with the moon" and she realizes that everyone hurts and heals in their own way. An excellent peek at another culture through the eyes of an American author who spent time living and working ...more
Michelle King
Jul 14, 2013 Michelle King rated it really liked it
Clare has recently and suddenly lost her mother and is having all the difficulties you would expect that would go along with that. Things get much worse when her dad, a doctor who she doesn't feel has grieved enough, drags her to Malawi for nine weeks.

This is an amazing story of transformation. The author does a fantastic job of giving a glimpse into the terrible difficulties of life in countries like Malawi. From the triumphs to the losses, the reader wants to know what happens to Clare, Memory
Sep 02, 2012 Debbie rated it really liked it
Shelves: youth
Simply told, with a profound message. Favorite quote: "But now I see that people aren't like stitches on a hem. They don't always follow a pattern. They don't always weave in and out, holding pieces of their lives together in the way you might expect. Sad people can laugh and dance, and that doesn't mean they're suddenly fine. And happy people can cry, and that doesn't mean they're not okay. It depends on the moment. It depends on who they are in the moment. It depends on absolutely everything."
Jan 10, 2016 Frezanda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children, cultural
A very well-researched book. I really felt like I was in Malawi and experienced the life there. I likes that the characterization is well-crafted. The characters are not the usual simple cookie cutter character. They have depth and layered personality which are not always kind or always bad. The thing I admire about the Malawian characters here is though they are not perfect, they seem to be more gracious and mature than us who are in developed countries. Something for me to learn.
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