Meet "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon"’s Author/Illustrator Grace Lin and Playwright/Composer Min Kahng

Beth Fhaner
 | Feb 13, 2020

Filled with magic, mystery and fantastical creatures, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a thrilling musical adventure that features young Minli. Minli’s poor village is desperately in need of good fortune, so she sets out on a quest to find The Old Man of the Moon, who holds all the answers to life’s questions. Adapted from the best-selling book based on Chinese folklore, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a beautiful, engaging play for audiences of all ages.

Curious about the creative minds behind the book and the musical? Read on to meet them both.

Grace Lin
Grace Lin. Photo by Danielle Tait.

Author and Illustrator Grace Lin

Grace Lin grew up in upstate New York with her parents and two sisters. While the other sisters became scientists, ​Lin became an artist. Surprisingly, being an artist was not ​​her first choice. She first dreamed of being a champion ice skater and drew many pictures of herself twirling and dancing on the ice. Unfortunately, ​Lin had neither the talent nor coordination to make it to skating stardom. However, the pictures she drew of herself held much promise and quickly became Lin's career focus.

After attending the Rhode Island School of Design, Lin quickly set out to achieve her dream of creating children’s books. Her first book, The Ugly Vegetables, was published in 1999 and was quickly heralded. As well as being an American Booksellers Association’s Pick of the List and a Bank’s Street College Best Books of the Year, The Ugly Vegetables was nominated for the California Young Reader Children's Choice Award and named a Growing Good Kids Book Award Classic.

She followed that success with the publication of more than a dozen other books, including Dim Sum for Everyone! and Lissy’s Friends. ​Lin's first children’s novel, The Year of the Dog, was released to glowing praise in 2006 and nominated to the Texas Bluebonnet Award list, which she followed with The Year of the Rat. Her novel, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, was awarded the 2010 Newbery Honor, chosen for Al Roker’s Today Show Kid’s Book Club and was a ​New York Times Bestseller. Her early reader, Ling & Ting, was awarded with the Theodor Geisel Honor in 2011.

As well as occasionally reviewing for The New York Times, ​Lin has became an advocate for diversity. She is a commentator for New England Public Radio and created the video essay, “What ​To ​Do ​When You ​Realize ​Classic ​Books from ​Your ​Childhood are ​Racist?" for "PBSNewHour." ​She also delivered the popular TEDx talk, “The Windows and Mirrors of Your Child’s Bookshelf.” ​Lin also voices her opinions on the podcast: kidlitwomen* and currently hosts two podcasts: Book Friends Forever and Kids Ask Authors. She truly believes, “Books erase bias, they make the uncommon every day, and the mundane exotic. A book makes all cultures universal.”

To that end, when the cover illustration for her novel When the Sea Turned to Silver (a 2016 National Book Award Finalist) was displayed at the White House, ​Lin, herself, was recognized as a Champion of Change for Asian American and Pacific Islander Art and Storytelling. In 2019, Grace’s picture book A Big Mooncake For Little Star was awarded a Caldecott Honor. Learn more:

Min Kahng
​​Min Kahng. Photo by Ben Krantz.

Adaptor and Composer Min Kahng

Min Kahng is an award-winning Bay Area playwright and composer whose world premiere works include The Four Immigrants: An American Musical Manga (Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award, Theatre Bay Area Award, Edgerton New Play Award, National Alliance for Musical Theatre Production grant); GOLD: The Midas Musical (Theatre Bay Area Award); Inside Out & Back Again; Where the Mountain Meets the Moon: A Musical Adaptation; Bad Kitty On Stage!; The Song of the Nightingale and Tales of Olympus. Kahng also wrote the NEA-funded project Story Explorers, an original musical for young audiences with autism. Kahng is an alumnus of the Djerassi Resident Artists Program (Calif.), the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts Residency, Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor and the TheatreWorks New Works Festival. He has been invited as a ​guest ​lecturer/​artist at Harvard University, Stanford University, UC Berkeley, San Jose State University and ​the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. ​He is a Jonathan Larson Grant Finalist, a Richard Rodgers Award Finalist, a Resident Playwright at Playwrights Foundation, a Board Member of Theatre for Young Audiences​/USA, and a proud member of the Dramatists Guild of America. Learn more:

Learn more about Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and buy tickets.