Thursday, July 26, 2012

Laugh With the Moon - Shana Burg

Publisher:  Delacorte Press
Pages:  256
Source:  Review copy from publisher for tour
Genre:  Middle Grade, Young Adult, Realistic Fiction

From Publisher:
Thirteen-year-old Clare Silver is stuck. Stuck in denial about her mother’s recent death. Stuck in the African jungle for sixty-four days without phone reception. Stuck with her father, a doctor who seems able to heal everyone but Clare. Clare feels like a fish out of water at Mzanga Full Primary School in Malawi, where she must learn a new language. Soon, though, she becomes immersed in her new surroundings and impressed with her fellow students, who are crowded into a tiny space, working on the floor among roosters and centipedes.  When Clare’s new friends take her on an outing to see the country, the trip goes horribly wrong, and Clare must face another heartbreak head-on. Only an orphan named Memory, who knows about love and loss, can teach Clare how to laugh with the moon.   Told from an American girl’s perspective, this story about how death teaches us to live and how love endures through our memories will capture the hearts of readers everywhere.

My Thoughts:  
I can't imagine being thirteen and losing my mother.  I have had many students who have had to go through this heart-rending situation.  What made this story even more emotional was knowing that Clare's father pulled her from everything and everyone she knew and loved and moved her to Malawi for six months.  Her father was excited to go back to a country he had worked in before.  Clare had decided to give her dad the silent treatment for the entire six months.  It's funny how meeting someone who has lost more than you have, and learning that there is always a silver lining if you look for it hard enough can help you heal and grow.  

Clare is stubborn, intelligent, artistic and very loving.  She has let the pain of losing her mother guide her for too long.  In Malawai she learns she has much to offer others as well as watching as others who have lost so much more give everything.  This was not an easy book to read.  It is a book I will put at the front of my class on the first day of school and recommend to all of my students.  I am trying to create global minded students.  My students may not be able to travel to Malawi or any other country less fortunate than we are here in the USA.  Through books like this one they will learn so much about what it takes to truly give of yourself.  They can learn that the simplest gesture can make a difference.  The fact that the book is full of information and facts because the author has been to Malawi holds great weight with me.  I loved the vocabulary throughout the book.  It is something else my students will love.

The book was so wonderfully written I could envision Clare's first encounter with a hippo and her shock at the school compared to her school back home.  The author did a wonderful job of bringing the reader along with her to Malawi.  I felt like I was a character walking beside  Clare, Memory and Agnes.    I will definitely read more by this author.  I look for great books to recommend to my students and my parents for their children.  This book is not just for middle schoolers or young adults.  This is a book that even adults will enjoy.  If you read no other book this year, this is the one you must read.

Want to find out more about this book?  Check out these other stops on Shana's Book Tour:

7/17: Sharp Read

Find out more about Shana:
Check out her Bio here
Watch her book trailer here
Resources for Educators here
Follow her blog here


  1. This looks like a good book. I'm thinking my nieces would adore it for Christmas. Thanks!

  2. It was a great book. It is one I am recommending to our school to replace novels we are using right now. I think it is much more worthy as far as lessons to be learned goes.

  3. Thanks for having me on your blog, Sandra. I'm truly honored and I'd love to hear how your students respond to Clare's story.