Book Review for Teachers

Book Review for Teachers: Kelly Barnhill’s “The Girl Who Drank the Moon”

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This is such a good book. In a small village, once a year, the youngest infant of the village is left in the woods by the town Elders. The village believes the child is left for a witch and this sacrifice enables their village to survive in the harsh swamp that surrounds them. The Elders don’t believe there is a witch and instead leave the children there knowing they will perish. Little do the Elders know, however, that there is actually a witch who is puzzled that this village leaves this child in the woods. Each year, she gathers the child and finds a family for them at a nearby city away from the swamplands.

One year, however, the witch accidentally enmagicks the girl left in the woods before she is able to deliver her to a family. The witch decides to raise her as her own. We watch as the girl grows, discovers her magic, and learns about who she really is. Filled with magic and love, this is a beautiful coming of age story.

Content-wise, this novel would be best suited to grades 4-6; however, because of its length, this would be best suited for strong readers in this age range. I would not recommend using this for a class-wide novel study, but it would make an excellent option for literary circles or an amazing addition to your classroom’s library. 

Key themes addressed: identity, coming of age, family, hero’s quest, love.

Age range:
Content: Grade 4 -6
Reading Level: Grade 7-8

Warnings: The story does start with our protagonist being removed from her mother as an infant. This may be triggering to some students.

Find the book here: The Girl Who Drank the Moon

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