Thursday, October 9, 2014

West of the Moon

Cover image for West of the moon
West of the Moon
by Margi Preus
Amulet Books, 2014. Fiction, 213 p

When Astri is 13, she is sold by her aunt to a harsh goat herder.  Astri decides to escape and, along with her little sister, Greta, travel from Norway to where her father lives in America.  As the two girls set out, Astri tells her sister traditional Norwegian stories that give both girls courage to face the difficulties of their journey.  Strangely, the events in their journey seem to parallel the challenges the heroes face in the stories. Astri is a strong and complicated character.  She knows what is right and wrong, but is repeatedly faced with situations that make her choose between obeying convention and accomplishing her goal. She ultimately does what she must to get her and her sister to America. The story reads like a well written action/adventure story, but an author note at the end of the book explains that many of the events and even some of the the dialog in the book are based on historical records of immigration from Norway to America in the 1800's. Some thematic elements make this appropriate for older readers.

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