My daughter, my granddaughter, and I recently visited my youngest son and his wife. It didn’t take long for the conversation to turn to books. I asked a question I thought I knew the answer to.

“How many people here have listened to the audiobook, The Girl Who Drank the Moon, more than three times?”

I expected that three of us would raise our hands, but to my surprise, all five of us did. Only one of us was 11 years old, so why had four adults listened to the book multiple times? Because it’s so darn good.

How good is it? I could list all the awards it has won – such as the Newbery Medal for 2017. But that would tell you nothing. Lots of books win awards – and as one reviewer said, “Blame it on a childhood of being traumatized by Newbery Award winners, but I tend to be wary of them.” She went on, however, to highly recommend this book.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon was written by Kelly Barnhill. The audiobook is narrated by Christina Moore.

Why is it good? It’s good because the story is original and the writing is delightful. It’s good because it engages the reader, be she young or be he old. It’s good because it makes you care about the characters. It’s good because . . . well, it just is.


Let me give you an inkling of the plot.

A town believes that a witch living in a nearby forest is evil and will destroy them unless they appease her. Once a year, they leave a newborn in the woods for her to eat or whatever a witch does with a baby.

The witch, Xan, can’t figure out why the town does this horrible thing of leaving a baby to die in the forest. Each year, she rescues the abandoned child and carries it to the far side of the forest where there are welcoming families eager to adopt.

It’s a long trek through the forest. To keep a newborn alive, Xan feeds it starlight. Xan is now old. She has made this difficult trip many times. This year, she accidentally feeds the baby, a girl, moonlight instead of starlight, which fills the child with magical powers.

Until the child grows up and learns to control the magic, it would be too dangerous to let any human family adopt it. So Xan decides to raise the baby herself. She names the child Luna and takes it home where she’ll have help in the form of a swamp monster named Glerk and a tiny dragon named Fyrian.

That’s just the springboard for the plot, which is complex, filled with memorable characters, and, like all good books, thought-provoking.

If you think that a fantasy – particularly a book designed for seven to 12-year-olds – won’t be to your liking, think again. This epic coming-of-age fairy tale, especially the audiobook, will enchant you.

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