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Lani and the Secret of the Mountain by…

Lani and the Secret of the Mountain

by Jewell Reinhart Coburn

Other authors: Mikki Senkarik (Illustrator)

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When a terrible drought afflicts the people of her village, Lani, known for her dutiful spirit, gentle heart and long, black hair, is affected most powerfully. Appearing one day with dried-out white hair, she avoids her fellow villagers and cares quietly for her ill mother. But when an old man injures himself outside her house, and she has no water to give him, she reveals to her neighbors that she knows where to get some of the life-sustaining substance. Leading them into the mountains, she shows them a plant that, when pulled out and hacked to bits, releases a flood of water. Unbknownst to the villagers however, Lani has saved them at the risk of her own life, by revealing the vengeful mountain spirit's secret Is her death inevitable, or will the water spirits freed by her actions have something to say about it...?

Published as part of the "Common Values Series," which presents world folktales that feature universal human values, Lani and the Secret of the Moutain, also known as "The Long Haired Girl," is taken from the traditional lore of China's Dong (or Kam) people. The main text of the book, retold by Jewell Reinhart Coburn, is in English, but simplified English, Spanish, Chinese Traditional, Chinese Hanyu Pinyin (transliterated Chinese), Hmong, Khmer, Lao, and Vietnamese versions are also included in the rear, making this a truly multilingual book. There is also an instruction guide for using the story, with historical background and a list of questions and activities. I found the story here interesting, and came away with an interest in the Dong people, and their larger metaphysical beliefs about spirits. I also appreciated both the intention behind the series - to explore shared human values through folklore - and the presentation of the story in so many different languages. The art wasn't really to my taste - it had a flat quality I found unappealing - but leaving that aside, this is a book I would recommend to young folklore lovers. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | May 11, 2019 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Coburn, Jewell Reinhartprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Senkarik, MikkiIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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A Chinese folktale, also known as 'The Long Haired Girl.'
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