Book of the Week

West of the Moon


West of the moon


Margi Preus
Amulet Books
213 p.



West of the Moon is a surprisingly complex but easy to read 5-Star fiction. From Astri’s point of view, her life is intermittently interwoven with thirteen Norwegian folk and fairy tales, including East of the Sun, West of the Moon, which actuates a lively and diverse narrative. She and her younger sister, Greta, anxiously await the money their father promised to send for their passage so they can follow him to America where he is making their fortune.   Alas their greedy Aunt, who took them in after the death of their mother, has devious designs and Astri is sold as a slave to a cruel goat herder. The emotional distress of her situation is dwarfed by physical abuse and guilt. Constant fear and frustration without any hope for the future, Astri lashes out, escapes and rescues Greta, while realizing that she does not like the person she is becoming. “Could we go back and back and back to when the shirt was clean, before the tallow dripped on it, before I rose from the bed that night on my foolish errand, before we walked through the deepening snow to get to his farm, before he came to get me, before Papa left, oh! Before Mama died? Could we go all the way back, and everything be different?” But life is not a fairy tale and there is no turning back now, so the sisters break every rule to finagle their way onto the Columbus and sail for America. Torn over the one treasure she left behind, Astri fights against the tides, storms, disease and even religion to keep them alive.

Inspired by a passage from the diary of her great-great-grandmother, Linka, as she emigrated to America, Bestselling Author and Newberry Honor Winner, Margi Preus, includes an Author’s Note, Glossary, Bibliography, material from a Personal Interview, and Linka’s hand-drawn pictures. This title is recommended for readers 10 years and up.

Kristi Halberg

Education Resource Center