Friday, July 20, 2012
Laugh with the Moon by Shana Burg
Clare hates her life right now. Her mother has just died, her father has taken her to Africa with him on his trip for the Global Health Department, her cell phone doesn't work, and she knows no one in the village. It's awful!
Delacorte Press sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you). It has been published, so you can find a copy at your local bookstore now.
Being in Africa is bad enough, but she can't speak their language either. Attending school is going to be a nightmare. What she didn't expect was to be adopted by a girl near her age who has a small brother. Memory is a loyal friend and does her best to help her with the language and cultural changes. Innocent is her baby brother who likes Clare a lot, even though she's the first white person he has seen. He's really excited when she becomes his first period teacher. School is fun with Clare.
I especially liked reading about Africa and its people. They live with much less and make the most of what they can raise or barter for. They find joy in small things. And they have a fatalistic point of view. When people die, you grieve a bit and then move on.
Clare was not doing well at moving on, and Memory helps her with that. There is another death that affects them both, but Clare persists in trying to move on and learns it is possible. You don't forget the ones you've lost, you just find new ways to celebrate those memories.
Whether it's learning about love and loss or learning about Africa, this book has lot to give a young adult reader. There is also a glossary at the back with the African terms, pronunciations, and meanings. There is even a recipe.
Why not read this book aloud and dress up in the colorful clothing some Africans wear and make some sweet potato biscuits?