Have you seen my top ten list of fantasy books to encourage children to read yet? From that post, we will be delving into each book further with a fun activity in a fantasy book series. Learn just how crucial it is for children to be read to and be read books that spark the imagination. There are a lot of ideas to get you and your child started with fairies, gnomes, goblins, pirates, and even talking fish.
A strong, independent, free-thinking little girl named Minli lives in a ramshackle hut with her parents in the shadow of Fruitless Mountain. Her mother and father work very hard during the day in the unyielding fields. In the evenings, Minli loves to listen to her father tell old folktales with characters like the Jade Dragon, Magistrate Tiger, and the Old Man of the Moon who keeps the book of everyone’s destiny. And so begins Where The Mountain Meets The Moon by Grace Lin.
It is a tough life and Minli longs to change it. Inspired by her mother’s discontent and the purchase of a goldfish they cannot afford, Minli sets off to find the Old Man of the Moon and ask him how she can change their fortune. Along the way she meets a a wonderful cast of characters, including a talking fish, a flightless dragon, a boy with a buffalo, a king, and an evil Green Tiger, among others.
I love how Minli discovers her inner strength and uses her brain to get her out of the trouble she sometimes finds herself in along the way. It is a subtle, yet powerful message for children that they can be responsible, problem solving, independent little beings and create their own destinies.
This was a book that I looked forward to read along with my son. One night my husband read a chapter to him when I was out and I had to go back and read it I was so interested in the story! This is one of my favorites from the past year.
Activity: Red Thread Connections
“There is an ancient Chinese belief which states that when a child is born an invisible red threads connect that child’s soul to all those people – present and in the future – who will play a part in that child’s life. As each birthday passes, those threads shorten and tighten, bringing closer those people who are fated to be together.” ~Grace Lin
The book interweaves lots of the folktales into the main story of Minli and her journey. One theme that emerges early on is that everyone is connected by the invisible red threads by the Old Man of the Moon. As you get to the end of the book it is really fun to see how all of the stories, from different times and places, are all connected to one another.
You also see how connected people are through family and friendships. This activity explores the connections that your child has with his family and friends. Developing an awareness of the people around us and how we relate to one another (and eventually how our behavior also affects others) is an important part of the growing process.
- Posterboard or large piece of paper
- red thread
- tape, staples, and/or other fasteners
- photo or drawing of your child
- photos of friends and family
- paper, colored pencils, crayons for drawing people you may not have photos for
- Let your child decide which connections he wants to represent: grandparents, neighbors, friends, anyone from very important to a casual acquaintance is appropriate (we are all connected)
- Have your child place his photo on the posterboard
- Arrange the photos and drawings in however your child likes
- Secure the photos and drawings
- Connect and attach the red thread from your child to each of the others
- Connect people who have their own relationships
- See if anything interesting comes up while doing this project!