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I wrote this review a while back, but this year’s Newbery awards reminded me that I never posted this review of last year’s winner, The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.

The Story

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill is the story of Luna, a girl who became “enmagiced” as a baby after Xan, a good witch, fed her moonlight. Magical children need special care and training, and Xan does her best, but Luna is such a feisty child, Xan must cast a spell to lock Luna’s magic away until her thirteenth birthday, at which time Xan herself with begin to die. But the spell works so well that Luna can no longer even hear or understand the word magic or anything to do with it, leaving Xan unable to teach Luna.

Meanwhile, the Protectoerate continues to leave babies like Luna in the woods each year, “sacrificing” them to a witch the elders don’t believe in but which allows them to maintain their power of the people. Little by little, one man grows bold enough the defy the elders and seek to kill the witch on his own to protect his new baby. His story intersects with Luna’s mother, who has become mad and magical with grief. All these plotlines (and more) converge in a thrilling climax full of justice, mercy, and love.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon has so many threads that are masterfully woven together, it’s difficult to give you a sense of the beauty of this book.

What I Loved About This Book

  1. Themes–Like many fantasy stories, The Girl Who Drank the Moon is about so much more than the plot alone. It’s about what we do with sorrow. It’s about judging others without knowing them. It’s about family and love. All these themes are beautifully woven together in this masterfully told story.

Parent’s Should Know

  1. Witches–If you don’t approve of books with magic or inverted archetypes, you should know there’s a good witch. In fact, there are multiple witches, one of which is evil.
  2. Religion–The book does contain, not so much a religion, but a creation myth that is a strange combination of Genesis and New Age.

Overall, I think The Girl Who Drank the Moon is a beautifully written book that would provide a great source for discussions with your 10 and older children.

What’s a great book you’ve discussed with your kids recently?

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