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What the Moon Saw Hardcover – September 12, 2006

19 customer reviews

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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
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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

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 750L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (September 12, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385733437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385733434
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,953,468 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie Kreuz on April 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
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 By Rebecca Dixon on 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 By wine stopper is awesome! on January 25, 2011
Format: Paperback
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 By Laura Guerard on August 22, 2013
Format: Paperback
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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Hardy on October 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
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 By Christoph64 on 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Playwright on August 17, 2012
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
I first read What the Moon Saw two summers ago and absolutely loved it. It’s such a sweet story. It doesn’t have the harshness or grittiness like some of the books we’ve reviewed for Vamos a Leer. It won’t break your heart the way Aristotle and Dante Discover the Universe does. Yet, it’s a beautifully written and moving read. I couldn’t put it down.

One of my favorite lines comes early on in the book during a conversation between Clara and Abuela: “The most beautiful things in life are unexpected, Clara. They tear at the fabric of the everyday world. The world of patting tortillas and fetching water and washing dishes. They show you the deeper world, where you talk with the spirits of trees. Where you see the silvery threads connecting a leaf to a star to an earthworm” (p. 42). The longer Clara is in Yucuyoo with her grandparents, the more she comes to realize the truth in her grandmother’s words. Away from the suburbs of Walnut Hill, Clara’s understanding of the world changes drastically. She begins to see how those threads connect us to the world and the people we love. This change of perspective is also the impetus for Clara to reflect on who she is, what she values, and the kind of person she wants to be. Like many teenagers, Clara struggles with her identity and the desire to fit in. Early on in the novel, Clara is a girl who fits in among her friends at school, yet she’s restless. While she doesn’t realize it, she’s searching for something more—“Now do you understand, Clara? Why your spirit was restless? I thought for a moment. “Because I was looking for something, but I didn’t know what it was. Something hidden. The thing that makes me feel alive” (p. 174).
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