"'You know where the Never-Ending Mountain is?' the dragon asked the young girl. 'I thought to see the Old Man of the Moon was impossible. You must be very wise to know how to find him.' 'Not really,' Minli said. 'I got the directions from a goldfish.'" a quote from Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.
Minli is a young Chinese girl who lives in the shadow of the Fruitless Mountain where life is hard. Her heart breaks for her mother who constantly bemoans the never ending toil in the rice fields for little more than to keep them from starving. Minli dreams of being able to do something to change the family's fortune. Her father finds comfort in in the folktales about the Jade Dragon who keeps their mountain bare, the greedy Magistrate Tiger, and the Old Man of the Moon who holds everyone's destinies. Minli cherishes the stories that he shares every night to brighten their evenings and always ponders ways to bring happiness into her mother's life.
One morning, a stranger shouted "Goldfish! Bring fortune to your home!" Minli was drawn to him like a moth to a candle, asking how that could be true. Upon seeing the goldfish in his bowls and hearing, she spent one of her only copper coins to purchase one. Naturally, her parents were not happy that she wasted her money on a goldfish. After she explained how it could change their fortune, her father told her "The Story of The Old Man of the Moon."
Inspired by her father's story, that night, Minli slipped off on a journey, guided by the instructions from the goldfish and weaving together people, monkeys, a flightless dragon, and stories that guide her search for The Old Man of the Moon who knows everything and can answer any question. Along the way, she finds excitement, danger, humor, magic, and wisdom, and she befriends a flightless dragon, a talking fish, and other companions and helpmates in her quest.
Minli's determination to help her family, as well as the grief her parents feel at her absence, is compelling and thoroughly human. Behind the magic and absolute delight of other fairy tale aspects like the talking animals, real morals provide enrichment for character-building and problem solving.
The 29-page Kids Wings literature guide by Suzy Red includes the following activities in both PowerPoint and PDF:
Pre-Reading Discussion Cards
Readers’ Theater Introduction
Preparing Your Intellectual Tools, Dialectical Journaling
Vocabulary List and Frayer Model Activities
Making Connections: Predict/Read/Confirm Chapter Questions with PreReading Quick Writes
Many Multiple Choice and Short Answer Comprehension Questions
Several Visualizing the Story Comprehension Pages
Recalling and Analyzing the Events
Also included is an interactive Jeopardy-type game in PowerPoint format.
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