West of the Moon

Published by Amulet Books for Young Readers, cover illustration by Lili Carré

Astri makes a daring escape from a mean goat farmer, retrieves her little sister, and, armed with a troll treasure, a book of spells and curses, and a possibly magic hairbrush, the two set off for America. With a mysterious companion in tow and the malevolent "goatman" in pursuit, the girls head over the Norwegian mountains, through field and forest, and in an and out of folktales as they steadily make their way east of the sun and west of the moon.

Download West of the Moon reader guide

Listen to Minnesota Public Radio interview from 1/29/2015


West of the Moon / Book Trailer from Joellyn Rock on Vimeo.


Norwegian folktales are seamlessly integrated into the fast-paced, lyrically narrated story, which features a protagonist as stalwart and fearless as any fairy-tale hero.
Hornbook / starred review
Astri is like a girl out of a fairy tale, and the native folktales that Preus weaves through the narrative serve as guides, lessons, and inspiration for her. . . 
Publisher’s Weekly / starred review
Norwegian history, fiction and folklore intertwine seamlessly in this lively, fantastical adventure and moving coming-of-age story.
Kirkus / starred review
Enthralling and unflinching, this historical tale resonates with mythical undertones that will linger with readers after the final page is turned.
School Library Journal / starred review
Like dun silk shot through with gold . . . the mesmerizing tale of Astri's treacherous and harrowing mid-nineteenth-century emigration to America interwoven with bewitching tales of magic.
Booklist / starred review


Aesop Award for Children’s Literature
Minnesota Book Award
Society of Midland Authors Award for Children’s Fiction
An ALA/ALSC Notable Book
Listed as one of the Best Books of the year by

Bank Street College, Publisher’s Weekly, School Library Journal, Kirkus, BookPage, Hornbook

A Junior Library Guild Selection