The Girl Who Drank the Moon


The Girl Who Drank The Moon

Kelly Barnhill


Algonquin Young Readers

Lexile: 640L

Although the traditional beliefs of the people of the Protectorate are that a newborn baby must be left every year to the witch of the forest, the reality is that the witch would never destroy the town without the gift- she is actually a very kind soul.  Each time she is left a child, she cradles and cares for the child, until she can bring them to another family on the other side of the forest.   When Xan the witch mistakenly fills one of the infants with moonlight instead of starlight, the baby gets magical powers, so Xan raises the baby, Luna, as her own child.  By the time Luna is 13, a man of the the Protectorate decides that he’s had enough of watching babies be sacrificed to the witch.  What will happen to Xan and Luna? Read on to find out!


Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.

Suggested Delivery: 4th, 5th grade read aloud, independent read


The essay found here written by Kelly Barnhill explains how she came to write this novel, which would be a great text to develop schema prior to reading the book.

This interview held with author Kelly Barnhill is another great way for readers to understand and feel a stronger connection to the author who wrote the text the students will be reading.

Click here to see the reading guide for The Girl Who Drank the Moon.

Teaching Suggestions:

  • Vocabulary is an essential part to reading.  One activity which could help students grow their vocabulary alongside of this would be to fill out a word prediction chart.  In this, they would write their best educated guess to the word meaning, look up the word and write the actual definition, and use the word in a sentence.  The following vocabulary words would work well in this pre-teaching activity:
    • Fidget- Make small movements, especially of the hands and feet, through nervousness or impatience
    • Sacrifice- To give up (something important or valued) in order to to make something else better/safer/ more fulfilled
    • Rubbish- Waste/ Litter
    • Protectorate- A state/ area that is protected and controlled by another.
    • Debris- Scattered pieces of waste/ remains
    • Bog- Wet, muddy ground which can’t hold any weight
  • Comprehension is the goal in reading.  It is important to focus on comprehension before, during, and after reading a story.  The following activities can be done throughout the journey a student takes reading this book in order to support the level of comprehension reached:
    • Before reading the story, a great activity for students to develop schema related to the story would be to visit the link found above and read Kelly Barnhill’s essay  on how she came to write this novel.
    • During reading, an activity which will support the comprehension of the students would be to have the students have a small group discussion about the events in the book so far.  Having students talk about what they think will end up happening in the book in a constructive small group discussion is a great way to check for student understanding.
    • After reading, having students visit the second link seen above, which is an interview asking Kelly Barnhill some questions, would be a great way to have students conclude their comprehension of the story, as students would have the chance to reflect on what parts were the most difficult/ easier for Barnhill to write. Having students make these predictions (what parts of the novel were easiest/ hardest to write) in a small group would be a great way for them to reflect, then read and see how the author actually feels.
  • A conclusive writing activity is a great way to wrap up a novel with students.  Having students respond in a short essay to the following question would complement this novel really well.  (The following question was found via the reading guide seen above).
    • “A story can tell the truth, she knew, but a story can also lie. Stories can bend and twist and obfuscate. Controlling stories is power indeed.” Why are stories powerful, especially when you control them? On the other hand, what happens when stories are shared? Can you identify an example of the effects of sharing a story from the book?”

Click here to visit Amazon and purchase this book.


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