The Literary Maiden

A compendium of obscure 19th century writing.

In Which I Review Three Children’s Books (I Had to Read Them For Class, But They Are Fantastic) Post Three/Final Post

My final book out of the trio I will be covering today is Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin. 

This gorgeous Newberry Honor book takes the reader on a magically enticing journey alongside Minli, a poor, overworked child whose family deals with hardships of near-poverty. Minli, having heard traditional Chinese stories from her father all of her life, decides to go on a journey to find a wondrous mountain where, basically, a male moon spirit resides. This spirit is the one who can change fate and, to Minli’s hope, will change her family’s fortune for the better. 

The story enfolds with Minli meeting an amogolmation of characters, and as the story unravels, the father and other characters tell “traditional Chinese stories” (which may or may not be true?) that intertwine with the actual plot. If it sounds confusing, I promise, the book is much easier to follow and everything makes perfect sense. 

The beautiful mix of these sub-stories that tie-in perfectly with the plot make this book an ingenious and fantastic piece of work. Lin’s creativity makes this book, if you understand what I mean. Not to mention her gorgeous, traditional artwork that is blended throughout the book. Altogether, it just, in one word, leaves the reader in complete awe as they read the book.

The book is perfect for a cold evening beneath warm blankets, alongside a cup of tea and perhaps calming music to set the mood. I give this book 5/5 stars. 


The picture above was taken from the following link:

If you wish to learn more about this story or the author, please take a look at her official website:
Official Website

In Which I Review Three Children’s Books (I Had to Read Them For Class, But They Are Fantastic) Post Two

My second book out of the three I will be covering today: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.

I am positive most of you will recognize Applegate from the Animorphs series that she and her husband wrote. Now, she is flying solo with this Newberry winner about a gorilla named Ivan who is held captive in a shopping mall. He is then transported to a man named Mac’s “circus,” where he begins our story. Ivan is surrounded by many animal friends who are trustworthy and kind, however Ivan wants more. (I will stop there, as I don’t want to spoil anything.)

This story was based on true events with a gorilla named Ivan back in the nineties, who was indeed held captive in a shopping mall. Bizarre, right? Due to the amount of animal activists pleading for Ivan to be set free, he finally was set free into a zoo where he initially had a difficult time adapting. At the age of fifty, Ivan passed away. Applegate was unable to ever see Ivan amidst developing and writing her story, however she attended his funeral.

I greatly recommend this novel if simply for its wonderful message of animal rights. It is well-presented and told, being from Ivan’s view, and well-executed.

(I apologize if this is a rather small review of the book. I recently presented, as of two days ago, a group presentation of this book and am a tad burnt out. I will provide more links below for those interested in finding out more.)

This book cover was taken from here:

You can go here to Applegate’s profile site to find out more about the author:

If interested in helping with animal cruelty and animal rights, I highly recommend visiting the World Wildlife Fund website. There, you can donate as little as $25.00 online, or if sent a letter in the mail, can donate as little as $1.00, to help towards a specific endangered animal in need, stopping deforestation, as well as other disasters in nature occurring throughout the globe. Please give this website a look if interested:

And finally, here is a link to an NPR article that is most interesting. It is an interview with Applegate that also discusses her book and the original: story:

In Which I Review Three Children’s Books (I Had to Read Them For Class, But They Are Fantastic) Post One

I am taking a Children’s Literature Class in college, with the hopes of one day publishing a children’s book. I’m not too fond of most children (there are a select few I can tolerate, a few who even give me that warm, maternal feeing most women get around kids) however I figured if writing children’s literature was my way to get into the writing industry and make me an author then, eh, seize the day. Thus, this class, and thus I am reading many a children’s book. And now the reviewing begins.

Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin.

This book takes place in Russia, as one may guess, and centers around Sasha Zaichik, a young boy who’s living in the midst of Stalin’s reign. Once Sasha’s father is stripped from him for forming against Stalin, Sasha’s world begins to change. As we follow this character, the reader sees the character development and change through Sasha as he starts to realize that his perfect life which he thought was all thanks to Stalin, is no longer as organized, perfect, or beautiful, and that the great leader he once admired is not one to hold in high regard.

This book touches perfectly on communism during that era, the manipulation of Stalin and his power, as well as teaches children courage to conquer their fears and make necessary change for themselves.

This book may seem like a short, easy-reader chapter book, however it is so much more than that. The book lightly discusses topics such as death during that time; how people were taken away and brutally shot or murdered; and the separation of family into tight apartment houses, where each person had to dutifully share the bathroom (one bathroom, yes, between multiple people), as well as other dark, controversial topics.

I highly recommend this read. It is a quick 160 pages for the adult and highly educational, as you see this fictional memoir through the eyes of a child. It is engaging and a page-turner.

I took this image from the following link:

Also, please check out the author’s official website for this book: