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Book Club Kits: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Alamance County Public Libraries offer Book Club Kits for check out to area book clubs. Each kit contains 10 copies of a book and a reading guide.

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Book Summary

In the valley of Fruitless mountain, a young girl named Minli lives in a ramshackle hut with her parents. In the evenings, her father regales her with old folktales of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man of the Moon, who knows the answers to all of life's questions. Inspired by these stories, Minli sets off on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man of the Moon to ask him how she can change her family's fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest for the ultimate answer.

Discussion Questions

  • Minli’s name means “quick thinking.” 1. As the book opens, she wishes her name meant “gold” or “fortune.” Do you think her name suits her? How do the other names also suit her in the end? (Page 3)

  • Ma thinks her family has a “poor fortune” because they have plenty of stories, but not plenty of food. How do stories turn to fortune? (Pages 9-10)

  • Where does the inkstone that the painter used to create the dragon come from? Does the origin of the inkstone have anything to do with the dragon coming to life or the Fruitless Mountain coming back to life? (Pages 53 and 90)

  • Ba says that Minli is like the Paper of Happiness. If the Paper of Happiness says “Thankfulness,” how is it like Minli? (Page 87)

  • The buffalo boy’s friend is only a weaver. How would she know where to find the king and why does she look toward the moon as she considers the question? (Page 112-114)

  • Why do you think the buffalo boy refuses Minli’s coin, as he is obviously poor? What does that teach Minli? (Pages 120 and 159)

  • How are A-Fu and Da-Fu able to trick the tiger? How is the tiger the opposite of the villagers? (Pages 168-174)

  • Why does Minli choose to ask Dragon’s question above all the other questions she has? (Pages 246-250)

  • In the end, Ma is also a storyteller and tells her own story. How are her story and what she learns similar to what Minli learns? (Pages 252-255)

  • What happens because Minli’s family decides to give away the dragon pearl and not keep those riches for themselves? (Pages 271-278)

Book Trailer

Grace Lin Talks About Where the Mountain Meets the Moon