满月 (Mǎnyuè / Full Moon) is a beautiful, touching story about a young adoptee that we read for weeks following Mid-Autumn Festival. Although I had listed it in our Chinese mid-autumn Festival book recommendations, the poignant book deserves it’s own post. I strongly recommend this 满月 story to all families.
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满月 (Full Moon) Chinese Book Review
Title: 满月 (Mǎnyuè / Full Moon)
Age level: All ages
Language: Simplified Chinese
Where to buy:
Although the publisher suggests this book for ages 3-6 years, older children and adults can appreciate the narrative due to the topics of death and adoption.
The story is about a girl named 满月 (Mǎnyuè / Full Moon), and her name carries special meaning throughout the story.
She was born on the day of a full moon, and her parents have died from a contagious infection, which the author’s afterword explains to be AIDS from a blood transfusion.
First, the child’s father passes away. Then when her mother dies, the moon is a waning crescent. 满月’s mother promises that they will visit when the moon becomes full again, giving 满月 great hope.
In the meantime, the grandfather of the village, 王爷爷 (Wáng yéyé) cares for the child until her new adoptive parents from the city brings her home when the moon is full.
In her new home, 满月’s adoptive parents show her love, and she grows happily while remembering her birth parents.
Compared to typical picture books for children, the language is more poetic, and there is so much to discuss with the thoughtful text and expressive watercolor illustrations. This is one of those books that we will come back to year after year, knowing that we can explore the book more deeply as our kids grow.
As a non-fluent Chinese speaker, I would not have been able to understand the deeper meaning of the story since the language of the afterword is far too complex for me.
My daughter’s Chinese tutor read the story to us, including the afterword, so that we could understand the context that inspired author 保冬妮 to write the story. We both had tears in our eyes from reading the story, which my daughter didn’t fully understand why.
The 满月 story invoked curiosity in my daughter, especially about whether or not the story was real versus realistic versus purely fiction. Since she is reading this story at age 4 with no experience of hardship, the concept of losing both parents and then becoming adopted is quite abstract.
Photos of 满月 (Full Moon) Chinese Picture Book
My daughter was so inspired by 满月’s artwork, and she tried to draw the same picture!
Here is a beautiful poem at the back of the book:
My daughter reading 满月
Here is a video of my daughter reading part of the story. I actually cropped the first part of the video because my daughter was strangely narrating in a very robotic manner that detracted from the meaning of the story. Sorry for the constructive feedback, dear daughter!
Normally, she reads beautifully as I have shared in my other book reviews. But when we listened to the video together, it was a good opportunity to discuss awareness of how we sound and to convey empathy appropriately in our voice.
Effective story telling is so much more than simply reading words!
In summary, I highly recommend the 满月 story, and I know it is one that my kids and I will revisit from year after year. I look forward to seeing my daughter’s perspective mature when we revisit the book in the future. I will also be looking for more 保冬妮 books to add to our home library!
Chinese audiobooks for kids
For free Chinese audiobooks for children, check out:
- Free Chinese Audiobooks for Children on Ximalaya 喜马拉雅
- How to Use Ximalaya FM When You Can’t Read Chinese