Growing up, I didn’t come across much literature that reflected my Chinese heritage so when I was recommended Grace Lin’s Newbery award winner Where the Mountain Meets the Moon earlier this year, I read it immediately. I enjoyed it so much that I was the first person to check out the newly released Starry River of the Sky from my library.
Starry River of the Sky is a companion novel to Lin’s earlier book and shares many of the same characteristics. Both are middle grade novels that draw upon Chinese folk stories and fairy tales interspersed throughout the story. The stories are carefully crafted to weave together the magical universe Lin has created. Lin even brings back a few of the same characters and delves more deeply into their histories.
However, Lin uses Starry River of the Sky to explore a different type of story. In this novel, the reader is introduced to Rendi, a young boy who is incredibly different from Where the Mountain Meets the Moon’s Minli. Rendi is, well, he’s a jerk, however, his personality stems from real reasons and is explored throughout the story.
Lin also keeps the action and mystery in one central location: the Village of Clear Sky. When first discovering this, I wondered how Lin was going to keep up the adventure and mysterious of her earlier traveling adventure tale. But never fear! Lin brings the magic, mystery, and adventure to the doorsteps of our characters.
In the Village of Clear Sky the moon has suddenly vanished, but only Rendi seems to have noticed. Rendi along with his new friend Peiyi, the mysterious Madame Chang, and an assortment of other characters must find the moon, solve personal conflicts, and ultimately face their own fears.
So, are you planning on reading Starry River of the Sky? In the comments let me know what you think of it, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, or what your favorite Grace Lin novel is.
I’ll leave you with two videos featuring Grace!
Malory Hom is a first grade teacher in New York City. She is currently working on her Master’s degree in Childhood Literacy and reading a ton of middle grade fiction in her spare time which she documents at http://exploringkidlit.wordpress.com/.