Jake Rideout's Reviews > Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
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's review
Jun 17, 2012

really liked it
Read from June 17 to 20, 2012

I chose this book for the fourth graders in my summer book club. I chose it because the town where they live is very small and sheltered--there are only about 20 kids per grade, and almost all of them are white. In my after-school art classes with these kids, I've observed a significant amount of racist behavior toward the Chinese, which is weird because we have two students of Chinese descent and the kids are perfectly accepting of them. Most of the racism takes the form of off-color jokes that the kids probably learned from their parents.

This book is steeped in Chinese folklore. It shows the poverty and culture richness that is so prevalent, even today, and it portrays these things with a perfect balance of realism and fantasy. I know that reading one novel, no matter how good it is, can't reverse ten years of entrenched racism, but I'm hoping that the book will help me open a dialogue about jokes at another culture's expense. At the very least, maybe I'll be able to ask, "How would Minli feel about that?" the next time I hear a racist joke.

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