The Girl Who Drank the Moon, by Kelly Barnhill

This adorable book received the Newbery Award this year as well as a host of other honors since its publication.

The book centers around a young girl named Luna. Luna was one of the babies sacrificed annually by the Protectorate. The children are taken from the mother into the deep forest where they’re left for a witch to do whatever witches do to children. As it turns out, the witch of the forest is Xan, who can’t understand why the Protectorate brings a child each year, but she finds the babies, feeds them starlight, and takes them to villages on the other side of the forest to eager and willing parents.

But Luna is a different story, and Xan accidentally feeds her moonlight which fills her with magical powers. So Xan raises Luna herself with the help of Swamp Monster and Perfectly Small Dragon. Early on Luna becomes blocked from magic, so much so that she can’t even see the word on the spines of books. However as she begins to mature in her early teens both her body and her sense of magic begin to blossom at the same time.

Meanwhile Luna’s mother has gone insane after having to give Luna up. She is kept in a tower, cared for by the Sisters of the Star. In her room she makes paper birds that come to life. She is visited by Antain, the nephew of one of the village elders. The visit changes his life but also sets him on a journey to try to understand why the elders have been sacrificing children every year.

It’s a touching, loving book filled with wonderful characters. I listened to the Audible version read by Christina Moore who does a wonderful job with the many voices in the book. The book grows in stature daily. Amazon already offers teachers guides and student workbook built around the book. Over age 60 I fell in love with the book. If I’d been given the book when I was younger I’m sure I’d have worn it out with regular readings.