Laugh with the Moon

 Laugh with the Moon by Shana Burg

Thirteen-year-old Clare Silver is stuck. Stuck in denial about her mother's recent death. Stuck in the African jungle for sixty-four days without phone reception. Stuck with her father, a doctor who seems able to heal everyone but Clare. Clare feels like a fish out of water at Mzanga Full Primary School, where she must learn a new language. Soon, though, she becomes immersed in her new surroundings and impressed with her fellow students, who are crowded into a tiny space, working on the floor among roosters and centipedes. When Clare's new friends take her on an outing to see the country, the trip goes horribly wrong, and Clare must face another heartbreak head-on. Only an orphan named Memory, who knows about love and loss, can teach Clare how to laugh with the moon. Told from an American girl's perspective, this story about how death teaches us to live and how love endures through our memories will capture the hearts of readers everywhere.

Discussion Questions

  1. At the beginning of the book, why isn’t Claire talking to her dad? How does her attitude towards her dad change throughout the book?
  2. Why are they moving to Malawi?
  3. Why doesn’t Claire feel like she has a home anymore?
  4. How is school different in Malawi than it is in the United States?
  5. How does Claire teach the first graders English?
  6. How is her friendship with the kids in Malawi different than her friendships with kids in the U.S.?
  7. Why does Claire receive different medical care when she gets pneumonia than Innocent did when he had malaria?
  8. Claire receives a chicken. Who gave it to her and why?
  9. Why does Saidi leave school?
  10. Do you think Claire is glad to have experienced life in Malawi by the end of the book?
  11. How does Claire’s mom help her deal with things in Malawi?

If you liked Laugh with the Moon, you might also like:

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Sylvia and Aki by Winifred Conkling

Inside out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez

Ruby Lu, empress of everything by Lenore Look

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

Hope in My Heart by Katherine Lasky

Beyond the Western Sea by Avi

Kira Kira by Cynthia Kadohata

Katerina’s Wish by Jeannie Mobley 

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