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Laugh with the Moon

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  633 ratings  ·  140 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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Community Reviews

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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
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
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
Xander ForeverBookish
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Laura Phelps
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
Emlyn Chand
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
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
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
The Styling Librarian
Laugh with the Moon by Shana Burg – Realistic Fiction – This book has sat, taunting me in my “to be read” pile. So glad I finally had time to read this brilliant treasure. It honestly connects to the following book I’m sharing about as well- Listen, Slowly- with a reluctant teen who doesn’t want to go to another country and live there. This book, Laugh with the Moon, introduces you to a thirteen year old girl named Clare who is having a difficult time dealing with her mother’s death and also is ...more
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."
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
What a great young adult book about a region I know largely nothing about. After a young girl loses her mother, she heads to the African jungle for two months with her doctor father. The book deals with the culture, the joys, the sickness, the education, and friendships made along Clare's journey. Such a quick read.
Sandy Brehl
The intensity of this story is its greatest strength: loss, love, fear, friendship, anger, loneliness, cultural disparity. Burg's ability to balance these powerful forces while telling a credible story set in Malawi, told through multiple memorable characters, is beyond impressive.
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
For middle-grade readers, this book is fantastic. Clare is written like a true 13-year-old who is dealing with some heavy issues and major changes. This was just a beautiful story that I will be recommending to several teens I know.
Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens
Both the stark realities and the profound beauties of Africa help a middle school girl deal with the tragic death of her mother. Fall in love with Malawi, just like Clare.
Jennifer Denney
After her mom's death, thirteen-year-old Clare's world is turned upside down. Her father takes a job halfway across the world as a doctor in Malawi, and Clare gives him the silent treatment in protest. She would rather be anywhere but Malawi, with its strange foods, crowded school, and dangerous animals lurking about. But, soon, Clare starts to see the beauty in Malawi and in its people. She makes friends with Memory, a girl from her school who has also lost her mom. Clare is only going to be in ...more
Loved it! sweet young girls story of her visit to Africa and the friends she made and what she learns about life and growing up.
Edward Sullivan
A rich, flavorful, emotionally engaging coming-of-age story set in contemporary Malawi.
Slow. Couldn't get into it.
Molly the Librarian
Clare Silver is angry. Angry that her beloved mother passed away, angry that her family is broken, angry that her father up and moved the two of them all the way to Africa. In Malawi, her father finds satisfaction working as a doctor while Clare resists her fate attending school with villagers and living without the American comforts she has grown so used to in her young life.

Her new home and school feel completely alien to Clare, though she does find lots of new material to draw in her sketch b
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
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I got a job teaching sixth grade at the same elementary school that President John F. Kennedy attended, and organized my wedding in between writing lesson plans and correcting homework. I married Oren in the summer. Little did Oren know at the time that he wasn’t just marrying me—but all the characters from A Thousand Never Evers who lived in my head. Lucky for me, Oren has grown to love Addie Ann ...more
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