Although I am still revising like crazy, I had to come out to celebrate the release of Grace Lin's wonderful new book Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. I wanted to let everyone know how much in love with this book I am. It is a book that begs to be read aloud to every child in the world. It's a book that is easy to love. And it is a book that is already raking in the accolades. It has just won the Parent's Choice Gold award and has a starred review from Booklist!
Minli, whose name means quick thinking, lives with her poor parents in the valley of the Fruitless Mountain. In the evenings, against her mother's wishes, her father tells her wonderful stories about the Old Man of the Moon, who knows the answers to all of life's questions. One day Minli spends one of her only 2 coins to buy a goldfish to bring the family good luck. Her mother is angered by the wasteful purchase and Minli feels sorry for what she has done and decides to seek out the Old Man of the Moon to help bring fortune to her family. Along the way, she befriends a dragon, a talking fish and other wonderful characters. The story is beautifully interwoven with Chinese folktales that add a wonderful element to the narrative.
Little, Brown has published a beautifully made book as well, with Grace's full paged and colored illustrations interspersed throughout the book as well as Grace's beautiful drawings opening each chapter. Grace is an amazing artist as well as writer. I've been a fan of her work since my girls brought home Dim Sum for Everyone from the library one day and moved on to Year of the Dog and Year of the Rat. Not only is she a multi-published author/illustrator, but she is also a fellow member of the Enchanted Inkpot community.
So if you are looking for a present for that favorite kid in your life, consider this gem of a book. It is aged 8 to 12, but my 5 year old adored me reading the book to her, and I loved reading it. And to celebrate Grace's release of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, I am having a small contest. This is a picture of Minli from the book. And I have a signed copy of this picture as a prize, along with 2 copies of Grace's book with signed bookplates. There are 2 ways to win. To win a copy of the book and a signed bookplate from Grace, all you have to do is leave me a comment. That's it. To win a copy of the picture signed by Grace and the book and signed bookplate, then all you have to do is post the contest on your own blog and link back to me in the comments here. That's it. If you don't have a blog, you can leave a comment about the contest on someone else's blog, link back to me and be entered. If you enter the contest for the picture and book, you will also automatically be entered in the other drawing so that doubles your chances.
Lastly, I will share with you two last things. I interviewed Grace for the Enchanted Inkpot and her interview will go up next week on July 8th. I thought I would share a little taste of the interview here:
Ello - How do you incorporate your illustrations with your story? What comes first? Do you envision your characters first or do they come up from your writing?
Grace - For me, the writing always comes first with any book. I usually can't draw anything until the story is finished.
However, the character of Minli did come from an image I did before I wrote Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. In late 2003, I did a cover illustration for Cricket Magazine of an Asian girl riding a flying red dragon. As I painted the image, the girl captivated me. I had painted her in traditional clothing, over an idealized Asian landscape. I imagined her full of delight on her ride in the sky, full of adventure and life. She was my first character idea for Minli. But as I wrote the story, she changed a bit and, of course, became more fleshed out with characteristics and personality. She also became younger. However, she still retained that same spirit of my original painting.
I became so attached to the Cricket cover image that it morphed into the logo for my website, and finally the cover for Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.
The last thing I have for you is the book trailer for Grace's lovely book.
So what are you waiting for? Enter my contest! Spread the word! This is one of the most beautiful books written for children's literature! Yes, I absolutely mean it. This is a book I wish I had read when I was little, but am so grateful to have shared with my children. And I thank Grace for sharing this book with the rest of us.