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Lin Yi’s Lantern A Moon Festival Tale

Follow a boy’s trip through a market as he bargains for the list of items his family needs for an important celebration. And cheer him on as he tries to have enough money left to buy the red rabbit lantern he so desperately desires for the festival.

Lin Yi’s Lantern – A Moon Festival Tale by Brenda Williams and Benjamin Lacombe is a heartwarming story of family, traditions, responsibility, and the rewards of putting others first.

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Summary & Strategies

Lin Yi and his family are preparing for the Moon Festival, a harvest celebration also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival.

His mother is sending him to the market for a list of things she needs: moon cakes, star fruit, rice, yams … and peanuts for Uncle Hui.

She tells Lin Yi that if he has any money left, he may use it to buy the red rabbit lantern he wants.

Considering himself to be talented at bargaining, Lin Yi feels confident he’ll have enough money to be able to buy all of the items for his mother AND his lantern.

Lin Yi passes through the moon gate on his way to the market – making him feel especially lucky.

moon gate

Working his way through the market, Lin Yi bargains for moon cakes, star fruit, rice, and yams, but he still needs the peanuts for Uncle Hui.

Lin Yi realizes he won’t have enough money to buy the lantern – no matter how well he bargained.

This is a great part of the story to stop and brainstorm solutions for Lin Yi. Can students think of ways he could solve his dilemma? 

Text-to-Self Connections: Can students recall a time they were in a similar situation? How did they solve their problem?

Sadly, Lin Yi cycles home full of all of the items he was asked to get but empty of his festival lantern.

When Lin Yi gives Uncle Hui his peanuts, he gets surprised with a present in return: a red rabbit lantern! And a reminder of the special things that can happen, “especially if you pass through the moon gate.”

The tale concludes with the happy family climbing the moonlit mountain for the festival celebration.

moon festival

Educational notes at the end of the book feature information about the Chinese moon festival, life in rural China, and the legend of the moon fairy.

Plus, get step-by-step directions for making your own Chinese lantern.

Lin Yi's Lantern A Moon Festival Tale

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Lin Yi’s Lantern Activities

Our Free Printables:

  • Character Traits  Identify the physical and personality traits of Lin Yi. Extension: provide examples from the text to support trait choices (Lin Yi is thoughtful. Lin Yi demonstrates being thoughtful when he buys the peanuts for Uncle Hui instead of the red rabbit lantern for himself.)
  • Moon Gate Wish  What would you wish for if you passed through a moon gate? Fill in the blanks, illustrate, and share.
  • Story Props  Cut, color, and tape the market items to popsicle sticks. Keep kids engaged during a reading of the story and/or use it for retelling after the story.

Barefoot Discussion Guide  

  • Questions and games from the publisher.

More Activities –Reading is Fundamental (RIF)

Fun Stuff

Go Further!

Learn more about the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival and its traditions through other books and activities.

Explore our China profile page for a country map, infographic, video, photo gallery, and more! Try the China Challenge!

Teach beginning researching skills while discovering the geography and culture of China with our engaging Country Research Project for Young Explorers.

Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China  Engage students in a variety of response activities for what is believed to be the original version of Cinderella – written 1,000 years before the European one!