The Girl Who Drank the Moon

Kelly Barnhill

The Girl Who Drank the Moon
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The Girl Who Drank the Moon

Kelly Barnhill

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 in fact a good witch who 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 Luna’s 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. Deadly birds with uncertain intentions flock nearby. A volcano, quiet for centuries, rumbles just beneath the earth’s surface. And the woman with the Tiger’s heart is on the prowl …

The Newbery Medal winner from the author of the highly acclaimed novel The Witch’s Boy.

Review

The 2017 winner of the Newbery Medal is available to Australian readers in a new paperback edition.

Xan is a good and kind witch. Each year she makes a journey to rescue a child who’s been left in the woods as a sacrifice by the people of an oppressive and gloomy town, delivering it to a new, loving home. One year Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight. The baby becomes magical and Xan, naming the child Luna, adopts and raises her as family, alongside a tiny dragon with a giant heart and an ancient monster/poet of the bog.

As Luna grows up, her magic is irrepressible – and truths begin to emerge about the place and people she came from. There’s so much to love in this vivid, heartening and utterly absorbing book that champions the power of hope, love and rebellion in the face of fear and cruelty.


Kim Gruschow is the children’s book buyer at Readings St Kilda.

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