Laugh with the Moon

Laugh with the Moon
Age Range
Release Date
June 12, 2012
Buy This Book
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.

Editor review

1 review
Specific to Malawi, Yet Universal
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Thirteen-year-old Clare Silver's world has been turned upside down: her mother recently passed away and her father moved them to Malawi so that he could work as a doctor for Global Health Project. Even on the other side of the world, her worries remain the same: will she fit in with her classmates? What will her life be like without her mother? How long does grief last?

I do some of my best reading at the salon, and was actually able to whip through Laugh with the Moon in one sitting, completely immersed in Clare's life in Malawi. Author Shana Burg has experience in this country, and it shows, from the language snippets, the daily life, and the cultural aspects. I loved all of the details, from the characters' names (Memory, Innocent, Special, Lovemore) to the cheese straws that are actually bugs.

Burg is a beautiful writer; I am eager to read more of her work. There are many sentences that I want to share with my students, such as "My heart is a hive of stinging bees...The bees fly out, dripping honey everywhere." I will be recommending Laugh with the Moon widely and frequently.
Good Points
A beautiful description of an American girl's life in Malawi
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