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The Girl Who Drank the Moon

Last updated Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Author: Kelly Barnhill
Date of Publication:
ISBN: 1616205679
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jun. 2019

Synopsis: Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the Forest, Xan, is kind. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon. Xan rescues the children and delivers them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey. One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. As Lunas thirteenth birthday approaches, her magic begins to emerge--with dangerous consequences. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch.

Note to readers:
•  The book is long and you will not be able to finish. Please read the inside cover to the kids before reading the book because it sets the stage for the story. Try to read to page 29.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you ever seen a full moon like the one on the front cover? (Full moons come about every 29 days. They occur when the Earth moves between the Sun and the Moon. The next full moon is June 17, 2019)
•  Have you ever made a wish on the night of a full moon? (Full moons are considered lucky in many cultures)
•  Do you believe in the "magic" of the moon?(When the Moon travels over an ocean, its gravitational pull increases the sea level. When the moon moves past the ocean, the sea level drops)


•  protectorate - an area protected by another
•  geysers - a hot spring where waters shoots up
•  somber - serious/solemn
•  rouge - color placed on cheeks
•  notions - beliefs/ideas
•  guttural - a harsh sound from the throat
•  implacable - unbending/harsh
•  decrepit - frail/weak
•  unencumbered - free of burden/debt
•  fulcrum - central shaft

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Would you fight the witch or pick a baby to be sacrificed?
•  What other options are available to the town other than sacrificing a baby or fighting?
•  How do the Elders use Fear to make money and run the town? Why is this wrong? (They make up stories about a witch, they do not let the townspeople leave the area to see the other towns, they use physical force/discipline)

Craft ideas:
•  Make a chart showing and labeling the phases of the moon.
•  Draw a picture of Xan the Witch (pg 14, 15), Glerk the Bog Monster (pg 15, 17, 18) and Fyrian the Tiny Dragon based on the descriptions in the book.
•  Draw a map showing the Road, the Protectorate, the Forest with the swamp in the middle and the Free Cities at the end of the Road
•  Make a Father's Day card. (for father, uncle, grandfather, someone who is like a father to you.)
•  Check our craft ideas on Pinterest!

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!