The Mid-Autumn Festival or Moon Festival is the second largest celebration in China and throughout Asia. During this special time, the Chinese gather with family to celebrate the moon, light lanterns, and eat moon cakes. For those of you who don’t know the story of the Moon Goddess, Chang’e in Mandarin and Chang’o or Shang’o in Cantonese, here is the story I relate in my memoir/travelogue Spirit Baby: Travels through China on the Long Road to Motherhood. Enjoy!

“According to legend, thousands of years ago there were ten suns in the sky. The suns burnt all the plants, and the people were dying until an excellent archer named Hou Yi shot down nine of the suns, leaving one to nourish and warm the earth. The Queen of Heaven named Hou Yi the Divine Archer, Ruler of the Solar System and gave him a bottle of elixir that could render a single person immortal. He chose to remain with his wife, Chang’e, and simply kept the potion. One day, while Hou Yi was away, his archery student, Pang Meng, tried to steal the elixir. Afraid for her life, Chang’e decided to drink the elixir, which caused her to fly to the moon, where she forever remains, together with a jade rabbit and a woodcutter.

A devastated Hou Yi built his wife a Moon Palace with an altar filled with her favorite foods among a grove of cinnamon trees. On the fifteenth day of each lunar month, the heavens permit the Divine Archer and Chang’e to reunite under the light of the full moon. Today, believers make offerings to Chang’e in hopes of peace and good luck and look for her image in the bright, full moon.”

The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the eighth month (in the lunar calendar) when the moon is at its fullest, which this year, also happens to be China National Day. Below are some of my favorite books set in China and/or by Chinese authors. Enjoy! 

I am hosting a GIVEAWAY to celebrate!

TWO WINNERS will receive a signed copy of my book Spirit Baby: Travels through China on the Long Road to Motherhood and a surprise, totally unique, Chinese, bookish gift!

Enter the Giveaway via my Instagram account at