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Laugh with the Moon [Hardcover]

Shana Burg
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 12, 2012 10 and up 5 and up740L (What's this?)

Laugh with the Moon is on the Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List.

  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, 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.

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Editorial Reviews


Publishers Weekly, May 14, 2012:
"The setting and cast emerge as real standouts, especially Clare’s friend Memory, who tells her, 'Even the mourner must stop and laugh with the moon.' As this memorable heroine contends with loss, Burg balances tragedy with hope and resilience."

Starred Review, School Library Journal, June 2012:
“This lyrical story will be consumed in one long sitting, but the characters will stay with readers for a very long time.

Kikus Reviews, April 15, 2012:
"Burg creates a vivid work of art."

About the Author

Many years ago, Shana Burg found herself in a Land Rover in the Malawian bush, investigating whether school children had basic supplies like pens, pencils and notebooks. Though she didn’t find much in the way of supplies in the schools, Shana did make many friends. Later, as an educator and public speaker, Shana shared her experience in Malawi with her American students. She wished she could take them to Africa. With this book, she’s doing just that.
   Shana Burg is the award-winning author of A Thousand Never Evers and lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and son.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 740L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (June 12, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385734719
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385734714
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #868,710 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Top Ten Interesting Facts about Me

10. I am allergic to mango.

9. Rabbit is my favorite yoga pose.

8. I once sent my father to comedy school to work on his jokes...seriously.

7. My thumbs are double jointed.

6. I was a vegetarian for ten years.

5. I never snore--at least I never heard myself.

4. I finally learned to whistle at age 14.

3. My son Rafi wants me to write this one: I have a son named Rafi. He is 7. I do not allow him to eat any candy or ice cream all day long every day of the year.

2. I tried to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records for balancing on a see-saw for the longest time.

1. I'm the author of middle-grade novels A Thousand Never Evers and Laugh with the Moon.

For more information, please visit my website:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh with the Moon September 1, 2012
Having recently returned from my first trip to Africa, I was eager to read this new novel by author Shana Burg which takes place in Malawi. Thirteen-year old Clare has just suffered one of the worst losses a child can imagine--her mother has died, leaving her family consisting of just her and her father, a doctor who seems to care about everyone else more than Clare. At least that's the way she feels when he up and moves the two of them to rural Malawi for several months, where he will be working at the local hospital and she will attend the local village school.

But this novel is more than a "fish out of water" story as Clare struggles to adapt to a completely foreign environment and lifestyle, where she has no cell phone coverage, must wear a totally unfashionable school uniform, and live literally in the middle of the jungle, with no condos, buses, or restaurants. She's so angry with her dad that she's giving him the silent treatment. But eventually the people of Malawi break through her broken heart, helping her to heal.

Burg, who has worked in Malawi herself with Save the Children, manages to capture the many wonders of Africa--the spirit of the people, the beauties of the landscape and animals, and the crushing poverty. Young girls will identify with Clare trying to fit in with the local girls--gossiping about boys and who likes whom seems to be a universally popular occupation--as well as her sorrows and achievements during her trip. And they'll be amazed at how the children in the local school manage with hardly any textbooks (which must be taken for safekeeping from school every day so they won't be stolen), paper, desks, or other ordinary school supplies that we take for granted, even sculpting letters out of termite mounds.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh with the Moon June 19, 2012
Unintentionally, I found myself sitting all day, but I had a fabulous time doing it--I read Shana Burg's book, Laugh with the Moon. Like the first book, A Thousand Never Evers, this was charming, poignant, and thoroughly enjoyable. And though I am hardly the age of the characters and fortunately still have a mother, I found myself empathizing with Clare as though she were near and dear. Shana is certainly a very talented writer and I look forward to many more of her books.

Ruth Rooks
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great Bluebonnet nominee! April 7, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Talk about tugging at your heart strings. Readers will cheer and tear up as Claire learns to find joy in a new home and without her mother.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh with the moon December 29, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was an amazing and interesting story showing the reality of how poor some countries are and how you can find happiness and laughter in the darkest of times.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Such a beautiful read September 6, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Like the first reviewer here, I sat down to read and didn't get up until I had finished this beautiful story. A sure sign of a great read. Sweet story, engaging writing. I'd recommend this book for readers of any age.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thouroughly engaging and important book September 2, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As a college professor of journalism, I am recommending this book to all my students as a perfect example of a story that not only engages and entertains the reader, but far more importantly, teaches every reader an important lesson about life and Africa. Unquestionably, there is no age limit for readers of this book. Yet, I do believe Claire's story should be taught in schools all over our country. I cannot think of a better lesson for students to receive than this girl's courage and resiliency.
I was enchanted with Burg's A THOUSAND NEVER EVERS, but LAUGH WITH THE MOON fufilled all my expectations. I cannot wait for her next book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Compelling Story that Makes Africa Accessible August 8, 2012
I truly enjoyed reading "Laughing with the Moon" and inhaled it on what proved to be a very moving Saturday. At the surface, I saw it as an excellent coming of age tale about a father and daughter that I would want to share with my own girls. But at a deeper level, I believe that it is also an important book because of it what it had to say about Africa. So many of us have a strong intuitive sense that we need to transmit the immediacy of Africa's needs (and magic) to our friends and colleagues in the West, but the message gets lost in the translation. Shana Burg has managed to take a thirteen year old girl's traumatic transplant into Malawi and turn it into a compelling snapshot of Africa today. It doesn't white wash the enormity of the problems, the depth of the poverty and the despair -- but rather paints a multi-dimensional pictures of the good people of this continent -- their charm and challenges. Children today in developed countries need to be exposed to this very different experience and feel engaged with it. Clare Silver, the book's very human and accessible protagonist has a story that does just that. By connecting young adults with a rural African community, it opens up a colorful and troubled world that can benefit from all of our attention. And to be honest, the book has the power to connect those of us who are no longer children.

Alon Tal
Palo Alto California
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It Really Brought Me There! July 22, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've just left 3 days of reading this book where I couldn't put it down. I feel like Shana Burg captured the color, taste and feel of Malawi in this book with characters and plot which were engaging and true. It moved right along with never a dull moment. The language and cultural references were well-researched and authentic. You loved the characters and wanted to know more about them -- even after the end of the story. A sequel?! I vote yes!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh with moon
It was a good book. I like how it started with Claire hating the place then coming to love it.
Published 14 days ago by yazmine Corinne latimore
4.0 out of 5 stars Strong story dealing primarily with loss as well as cultural...
Laugh with the Moon is the story of Clare, a thirteen year old girl, who is brought to Africa with her father for part of the summer after her mother dies. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Lloc
5.0 out of 5 stars Bluebonnet 2013-2014
This was a Bluebonnet nominee for the 2013-2014 school year. It was not for me - but the reader enjoyed the book
Published 1 month ago by texasjones
3.0 out of 5 stars Laugh with the Moon
I didn't like how this book was so detailed. It was a sad book with some happy parts in it though.
Published 4 months ago by KU
5.0 out of 5 stars The most touching book ever
this book is amazing and I recommend it to people who like books with lots of action! And sadness, this book rocks!!!!
Published 6 months ago by Kathleen Ortiz
1.0 out of 5 stars wrong book sent
Because I was sent a wrong book that I do not want and my son wanted laugh with the moon
Published 8 months ago by RONALD PEREZ
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it.
Loved the book, one of the better ones on the DCF list. I like the description of culture and how the main character learns to cope with life without her mother.
Published 10 months ago by Neha Gratton
5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh with the Moon
This is a wonderful book. I would recommend this book to all readers but the younger kids probably should read it with a grownup.
Published 12 months ago by unicorn
5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh with the Moon
I'd recommend this book to anyone regardless of age. Shana Burg earns the trust of the reader right from the beginning with her obvious first hand knowledge of the subject and her... Read more
Published 12 months ago by TDG
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Mother Daughter Book Club. com
The last place thirteen-year-old Clare wants to be is on an airplane with her dad heading to a village in Malawi, Africa for two months. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Cynthia Hudson
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