Ideas for Learners Promoting Literacy, Inquiry, and Meaningful Learning Experiences
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Book Summary

When Luna was a baby, she was accidentally enmagicked by a kind-hearted witch named Xan. Xan and her friends, a swamp monster and a tiny dragon, can't help falling in love with the girl, and they decide to raise her themselves. As she grows, her magical powers become too difficult to control, so Xan locks them inside her until the time is right.

In a town not far away, the people of the Protectorate sacrifice one baby each year as an offering to the evil witch who lives in the forest. Luna was such a child, and her mother never recovered after Luna was taken from her. Antain's mother has great political ambitions for him, but he disapproves of the child sacrifice, and questions other policies of the Protectorate. Eventually, he decides he must kill the forest witch and put an end to the misery of the people in his town.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon book cover
The Girl Who Drank the Moon

Book Review

This book contains absolutely gorgeous writing, and in a world full of fantasy stories, it is shiny and unique. This story goes beyond a fairy tale, asking readers to question what they believe and who is worthy of trust and loyalty, and how to proceed when giving up seems like the painless option. It's a bit odd, with complicated world-building and changes in point of view and plot twists that might frustrate some independent readers. There were times when the characters disappointed me because they made bad choices, but I never stopped caring about them. This book makes beauty and heartbreak and magic look effortless.

Topics and Themes for this book:

  • Good and Evil
  • Growing Up
  • Faith in Others, Trust, Loyalty
  • Family Relationships
  • Perseverance
  • Systemic Injustice

Discussion Questions for this book:

The best discussion questions, of course, are generated by and contemplated by readers. These questions are designed to avoid major spoilers about the book, and to provide a starting point for teachers, parents, and student reading groups.

**Questions coming soon**

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