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What the Moon Saw [Kindle Edition]

Laura Resau
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $6.99
Kindle Price: $5.98
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Clara Luna's name means "clear moon" in Spanish. But lately, her head
has felt anything but clear. One day a letter comes from Mexico, written in Spanish: Dear Clara, We invite you to our house for the summer. We will wait for you on the day of the full moon, in June, at the Oaxaca airport. Love, your grandparents.

Fourteen-year-old Clara has never met her father's parents. She knows he snuck over the border from Mexico as a teenager, but beyond that, she knows almost nothing about his childhood. When she agrees to go, she's stunned by her grandparents' life: they live in simple shacks in the mountains of southern Mexico, where most people speak not only Spanish, but an indigenous language, Mixteco.

The village of Yucuyoo holds other surprises, too-- like the spirit waterfall, which is heard but never seen. And Pedro, an intriguing young goatherder who wants to help Clara find the waterfall. Hearing her grandmother’s adventurous tales of growing up as a healer awakens Clara to the magic in Yucuyoo, and in her own soul. What The Moon Saw is an enchanting story of discovering your true self in the most unexpected place.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 5-9–Out of the blue, 14-year-old Clara Luna receives a letter from her grandparents inviting her to spend the summer with them in Mexico. She has never met her fathers parents and he has not seen them since he left his homeland more than 20 years ago. Wary of visiting people she doesnt know and yet frustrated and restless with her life at home, Clara embarks on the two-day journey to the remote village of Yucuyoo. Through her experiences there, she discovers not only her own strength as an individual, but also her talent for healing, which she shares with her grandmother. The exquisitely crafted narrative includes Claras first-person impressions and descriptions interspersed with chapters of her grandmothers story. The characters are well developed, each with a fully formed backstory. Resau does an exceptional job of portraying the agricultural society sympathetically and realistically, naturally integrating Spanish words and phrases in Mixteco into the plot without distracting from it. The atmosphere is mystical and dreamlike, yet energetic. Readers will relish Claras adventures in Mexico, as well as her budding romance with Pedro. This distinguished novel will be a great addition to any collection.–Melissa Christy Buron, Epps Island Elementary, Houston, TX
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* "In all my fourteen years, I hadn't thought much about Mexico," says Clara, who lives in suburban Maryland with her American mother and Mexican father, who crossed the border illegally long ago. Then Clara's Mexican grandparents invite her to spend the summer with them in Oaxaca, and she finds herself on a plane, traveling to see a part of her father's life she has barely considered. Resau's deeply felt, lyrical debut follows Clara through her summer with her grandparents, who live in small huts in the remote Oaxacan mountains. After her grandfather tells Clara that her grandmother "can see a whole world that the rest of us cannot," Clara learns that Abuelita is a healer, and in alternating first-person narratives, Resau juxtaposes Abuelita's stories of her coming-of-age with Clara's own awakening. Pedro, a young neighbor, stirs some of Clara's first romantic desires and forces questions about cultural misperceptions. The metaphors of personal discovery are sometimes heavy and esoteric, and the transitions between narrators are occasionally contrived. But in poetic, memorable language, Resau offers a rare glimpse into an indigenous culture, grounding her story in the universal questions and conflicts of a young teen. Readers who enjoyed Ann Cameron's Colibri (2003) will find themselves equally swept up in this powerful, magical story, and they'll feel, along with Clara, "the spiderweb's threads, connecting me to people miles and years away." Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unbelievable novel from a amazing new writer! April 26, 2007
I was lucky enough to meet Laura Resau when she came and gave a talk in my Children's Literature class in Maryland. I have to say that there isn't a thing in this book that wasn't derived from her life experiences. When she talks about the "limpia," the ritual steam baths, and lifestyles of the people in Mexico, she was there, she saw them, she experienced them. This is what makes this novel so compelling; from the beginning, the characters feel like real people and it's because they were based on real people!

Don't be detered by the seemingly young adult cover, this is a book for all ages! More than anything, this book is about a girl named Clara trying to find herself, and does so when she visits her grandparents in a small village in Mexico. The characters in this book are so real and they are so natural that you can't help but be drawn into their lives.

Clara is a typical teenage girl who needs her tv and her computer, but she finds that these things aren't nearly as important when she begins to live in Mexico. By reading this book, you not only learn more about a culture that is rarely or if ever talked about, but you may find that you learn a little about yourself and what your true passion is. If anything, you'll come away with a new appreciation for an area of the world that you know little about.

Overall, this is an unputdownable book and deserves the attention of everyone! If you are lucky enough to have Laura Resau coming to your area, go see her and listen to her talk about her experiences and where she gets her inspiration from! It will definitly inspire you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for young adults December 3, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A friend mentioned this book because I'm going to Oaxaca, Mexico soon. She told me it was for young adults, "but." I found it totally charming and very informative. The State of Oaxaca is rich in cultural diversity, peoples who've kept their pre-Columbian way of life. This book did an excellent job of showing one of these cultures very clearly from the eyes of an American. It also gave lush descriptions of the mountain landscape as well as Oaxaca City (several decades ago). It is well written, with a well-paced and exciting narrative and lovable characters portrayed in depth.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, Amazing, Amazing January 25, 2011
This book is amazing. Brings you into the Mexican heritage. Usually you take your life for granted, but this puts life in a whole different view. Anybody from 1- 10000000000 would love it. It's amazing, for all ages. Buy it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Visit Mexico from your home... Read What the Moon Saw! August 22, 2013
I have now read 5 of Laura Resau's books and What the Moon Saw beautifully lives up to my high expectations based on my reading experiences with the other 4! (Queen of Water, Notebook Trilogy) Clara Luna, Doña Three-teeth, Pedro and the other characters are as highly developed and believable as the beautiful "fictional" people in Laura Resau's other novels. This stirring novel is perfect for all ages and is a completely different reading experience from the 3 Notebook novels, which I adore. Each of her novels leaves me hungry for more! Despite realistic hardships and social issues, her novels end on a generally positive note and will leave you feeling good about life. Read this with someone you love!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book deserves a wider readership August 17, 2012
Laura Resau is one of the best contemporary multi-cultural children's book authors. WHAT THE MOON SAW is a coming-of-age story where a Mexican-American girl goes into Mexico to seek her roots. The characters are compelling. This is great reading for middle grade audiences.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Future Classic Alert! October 20, 2006
This is a fantastic book. The literature says it is for 10 and above, but as an adult I had no problem reading it. The language is beautiful - almost lyrical. This book is a great jumping off point to get kids talking about pride and heritage. I'm sure this book is going to find its way into classrooms very quickly.

Buy it, buy it, buy it!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For young people and adults January 31, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My 14 y/o daughter got this as a present a while back and then gave it to me, her dad, to read. It is a very enjoyable and moving book that has both elements of fantasy and reality. I was thinking while I read it that hopefully someone would make a movie of this story. I recommend it for anyone age 12-120.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Resau's writing has the feel of someone who has spent years perfecting her art so that now she can tell a compelling story with richness and color and depth, writing that speaks on many levels and conveys a whole culture, another way of life. The writing is taut, without excess, but at the same time full and sensuous, erecting edifices with a flick of a word or two. Her sentences themselves are like questing vines, with curlicues in their interior!

I like how Resau brings out the wider reverberations of events as they rumble by. For instance, right at the beginning, Clara sneaks out of her house at night and submerges herself under the water in the nearby stream. It's a baptism into the other world, a world far from her suburban upbringing, an intimation of the spirit world she'll enter more fully later in the story. It's so powerful, the type of iconic image that keeps returning to one's mind after reading passages like this.

As the chapters progress the tension and drama grows. It got my heart pounding, totally worried about what was going to happen. I didn't want to stop reading and it kept getting better as I saw more and more of the connections between the stories of the grandmother and grandchild.

I really like how Resau weaves multiple occurrences of events/actions/people through the novel and then joins them so that the different pieces all slide smoothly one into another. She's created a page-turner, but one where you savor the individual pages with their evocative and vivid experiences.

And it feels like Resau is honoring some of the people she's met on her travels, transferring some essence of them into the characters in the book, spreading their determination and way of being out to others in the world.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent book! My whole book club loved it :)
Published 1 month ago by Elle Mel
5.0 out of 5 stars Experiencing a new culture through grandparents and a special goat...
A young girl from a US suburb travels to visit her grandparents in Mexico and experiences the enchantments of a different culture.
Published 13 months ago by E. Neal
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific coming of age book!
I absolutely love this book and so did each of my daughters. The writing is so beautiful and the protagonist, Clara, is a character girls can relate to, even if their circumstances... Read more
Published 15 months ago by jenhl
5.0 out of 5 stars absolutely fabulous
What if you were a modern suburban American middle-schooler, but your grandparents still lived in rural Mexico, in a shack miles from the closest town without even indoor plumbing? Read more
Published on February 22, 2012 by Bibliophilic
5.0 out of 5 stars a lovely story
Clara Luna is the fourteen year-old daughter of a Mexican father and an American mother. She feels restless in her life when suddenly she receives a letter from her Abuelita in... Read more
Published on November 3, 2011 by Deborah Sandford
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful coming of age story
My daughter, 15, loves a good book. When she read this one last year she said this one was the best stories she had ever read and that I "have to read this one! Read more
Published on April 10, 2009 by K. Robison
5.0 out of 5 stars A good life lesson
What The Moon Saw is one of those books that I tried to read slowly. I didn't want it to end too soon so instead of sitting down and reading several chapters through at a time, I'd... Read more
Published on February 5, 2009 by CookieBooky
5.0 out of 5 stars An Enchanting Book for All Ages
This is one of those rare books that shows how remarkable and exciting the world we live in is. It has all the intrigue, magic, and adventure of the best fantasy books, yet it's... Read more
Published on June 13, 2007 by Todd Mitchell
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More About the Author

With a background in cultural anthropology and ESL-teaching, Laura Resau has lived and traveled in Latin America and Europe - experiences that inspired her books for young people. Her latest novel, The Jade Notebook, was praised by School Library Journal for "the lush descriptions, intermittent action sequences, and sprinkling of fantasy [that] all come together to form an engaging reading experience."

Her previous novels - The Queen of Water, Star in the Forest, The Ruby Notebook, The Indigo Notebook, Red Glass, and What the Moon Saw - have garnered many starred reviews and awards, including the IRA YA Fiction Award, the Américas Award, and spots on Oprah's Kids' Book List. Acclaimed for its sensitive treatment of immigration issues, Resau's writing has been called "vibrant, large-hearted" (Publishers' Weekly) and "powerful, magical" (Booklist).

Resau lives with her husband and young son in Colorado. She donates a portion of her royalties to indigenous rights organizations in Latin America.

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