A sacrifice to witches, a bog monster, and a snuggle bug dragon. Barnhill uses these elements to spin a tale of a young girl Luna, trying to cope with irreversible consequences of not sticking to a standard diet of milk and pureed peas.
This week the kids and I finished Kelly Barnhill’s “The Girl Who Drank a Moon.”
There are so many great quotes from this book that make it an engaging and soul penetrating story. Barnhill has a gift for sprinkling thought engaging quips, that I often had to stop and wonder if my life was still the same. The story is going along at a great pace and then BAM:
As a parent, I can relate. There are things about the world that I don’t want my kids to know. I don’t want to share my secrets….to share worries that keep me up. I hadn’t really thought that there are things in their lives that they want to protect me from as well.
What are they hiding?!
By far, my favorite character was Adara, Luna’s mother. Barhnill took a very classy approach when she talks about mental illness in this novel. Although mental illness doesn’t usually have a catalyst like Adara’s does, Barnhill makes us empathize with the loss of power that is the root of Adara’s insanity. I feel that Adara had to embrace her mental instability in order to truly find her inner power, and it helps everything come full circle when her daughter Luna had to do the same. She doesn’t have to overcome the mental illness itself, which is a great concept for adolescents to be more empathetic with this situation.
You can be crazy… you can be deformed… you can be a witch…. and still be a hero.
If your child has read these books and you’d like to engage them with the storyline, here are 5 questions that you can ask. I’ve also included some of the quotes that lead me to ask those questions:
- Adara, Luna’s biological mother, ends up having magical abilities of her own. In a vision, it is implied this could have been because she was a descendant of the witches and wizards who were around before the great volcanic eruption. Do you think this means that Luna was always destined to have magical abilities?
- “Their backs bent under the weight of their secrets.” Are secrets ok? When are secrets not ok?
- “Sorrow is dangerous.” This phrase is repeated often throughout the book. Has there ever been a time that you felt you were so sad that it changed the way you look at the world? What makes you happy? Does happiness have the same ability to be dangerous?
- “Compassion or Revenge? Sometimes the two were the same.” What do you think? Do you think the ending was very compassionate to the mean people in the book such as the Grand Elder?
- If you had Seven League Boots, where would you use them to go? Do you think they are faster than Fyrian?
Kelly Barnhill has a few other books available, which I hope to read with the Allaire kiddos sometime soon. You can check her out at kellybarnhill.wordpress.com.
If you’ve read the book, do you have any thoughts on the above questions?
Have a good day and happy reading!