In Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin we meet a girl named Minli who is determined to change her family’s fortune. Both her parents work all day in the fields for just enough food to put on the table. Her father passes the night by story telling while her mother “sighs” over their misery constantly.
One day a man selling goldfish arrives in their town known as Fruitless Mountain since food here is hard to grow. Minli spends her precious coin on a goldfish, upsetting her mother. Hence, Minli decides to release the goldfish into the river. When she does, the goldfish speaks to her and tells her he knows how to find the Old Man of the Moon who knows how to change their fortune. With that, she is off on her adventures!
Along the way, Minli meets a dragon who can’t fly. She tells him about the Old Man of the Moon, and he decides to accompany her on her journey. She meets villagers who help her and encounters an evil tiger who wants to eat her! When Minli does finally find the Old Man of the Moon, she is told she can only ask one question. She is torn: she can either ask how to change her fortune or ask how the Dragon can fly.
She asked for the Dragon, saying, “I didn’t ask the question because I don’t need to know the answer.” Minli had discovered the key to her fortune: family and gratitude.
Minli returns home atop the Dragon who can now fly. The Dragon decides to stay and he changes Fruitless Mountain from brown to green. She gives the Dragon’s pearl that had been preventing him from flying to a king who had helped her along the way. The king gives the village utensils to sow the ground and much more. All prosper because Minli asked the question for the Dragon.
Great story about putting others first and acting selflessly, which leads to everyone prospering. Very, very quick read. The writing style is simple and moves the story along. 2010 Newbery Honor Book, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin is a must-read for all!