The Girl Who Drank the Moon The Girl Who Drank the Moon discussion

Middle Grades

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Katie Akridge The Girl Who Drank the Moon, by Kelly Barnhill, packs many aspects of whimsy and magic into its pages. The book opens on a mystical town, the inhabitant of which spend their lives in fear of a forest witch named Xan. In order to appease the so-called terrible witch, the town sacrifices one baby a year by placing it in the forest. Instead of killing the babies, Xan protects them and ensures their safety. One year, Xan accidentally feeds one baby (Luna) moonlight instead of star light, causing the child to become increasingly powerful and magical. Over the years, Luna learns of the flawed and oppressive government system of the town and must grapple with the decision to use her magic for good.
I really love all the magic and imagination in The Girl Who Drank the Moon! I felt like I was transported to another world, and I could never predict what was going to happen next. However, there are a lot of moving parts in this novel: made of towns, characters with confusing names, whimsy, magic, etc. For this reason, I found myself becoming confused at parts, and I know that if I am slightly confused reading a novel, some middle school students would definitely have a hard time comprehending the book. Furthermore, this noel is around 400 pages, a length I would consider a little long for average middle school readers. If I were to teach this book to a class, I would certainly be careful with pacing, and I would spend much time in discussion, ensuring students are aware of basic plot occurrences as well as hidden themes and symbols.

Ashlee Willis I felt the same way. I thought the book was utterly beautiful, but there were several parts that I had to stop and really think about what was going on in order to understand it. I'm sure for middle graders (ages 8-12, right?) that would be even more complicated. After I read it, I had to look up the age group it was meant for, because I was sure it had to be YA - but the cover art made me think MG. I've heard there is "upper MG," and I suppose this book could be classified as that. Also it really just depends on the child reading it - some children are more canny and insightful than others :)

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