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Monday, October 21, 2013

American Born Chinese

Book title: American Born Chinese

Author: Gene Luen Yang

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Heritage: Chinese American

Published Date: 2006

Blurb:  All Jin Wang wants is to fit in. When his family moves to a new neighborhood, he suddenly finds that he's the only Chinese American student at his school. Jocks and bullies pick on him constantly, and he had hardly any friends. Then, to make matters worse, he falls in love with an all-American girl....

Born to rule over all the monkeys in the world, the story of the Monkey King is one of the oldest and greatest Chinese fables. Adored by his subjects, master of the arts of kung-fu, he is the most powerful monkey on earth. But the Monkey King doesn't want to be a monkey. He wants to be hailed as a god...

Chin-Kee is the ultimate negative Chinese stereotype, and he's ruining his cousin Danny's life. Danny's a popular kid at school, but every year Chin-Kee comes to visit, and every year Danny has to transfer to a new school to escape the shame. This year, though, things quickly go from bad to worse...

These three apparently unrelated tales come together with an unexpected twist, in a modern fable that is hilarious, poignant and action-packed. American Born Chinese is an amazing rise, all the way up to the astonishing climax--and confirms what a growing number of readers already know: Gene Yang is a major talent.


About the Author:


Gene Luen Yang is a Chinese American writer of graphic novels and comics.

Website: http://geneyang.com

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Rice Without Rain

Book title: Rice Without Rain
Author: Minfong Ho
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Heritage: Thai American
Published Date: 1990


Blurb: Another dry season - another silent harvest!

The parched yellow fields outside the village where seventeen-year-old Jinda lives are her family's only source of income. How can the rain-starved crop produce enough rice to feed them, much less pay the rent? Perhaps the recently arrived young strangers from the city are right about the need for centuries-old traditions to change. At least when she listens to their talk, she feels the stirrings of hope...

Hesitantly, Jinda grows to trust the outsider. There is Sri, who brings with her life-saving medicines and knowledge of how to use them. And there is Ned, who talks of talking charge of one's own destiny, and fighting those who would stand in the way. It is almost too late when Jinda realizes that her trust is misplaced - that to Sri and Ned their cause is more important than the lives it would affect. Against a vividly evoked backdrop of rural and urban Thailand, Jinda heroically faces the challenges of holding on to who is as the world around her revolves in what seems to be never-ending change.

After social rebels convince the headman of a small village in northern Thailand to resist the land rent, his seventeen-year-old daughter Jinda finds herself caught up in the student uprising in Bangkok.


About the Author:

Minfong Ho is an award winning Chinese American writer. She was born in Rangoon, Burma, and raised in both Singapore and Bangkok, Thailand. Her parents are of Chinese origin, so she spoke fluent Chinese in her home, Thai in the marketplace of Bangkok and English in school. She was educated in Thailand and Taiwan, before moving to the United States to attend Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. There, she received her BA in Economics and History as well as her M.F.A in Creative Writing. She currently lives in Ithaca, New York with her husband John and children Danfung, MeiMei, and Christopher. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tangled Threads: A Hmong Girl's Story

Book title: Tangled Threads: A Hmong Girl's Story

Author: Pegi Deitz Shea

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Heritage: Hmong American

Published Date: 2003


Blurb: For the Hmong people living in overcrowded refugee camps in Thailand, America is a dream: the land of peace and plenty. In 1995, ten years after their arrival at the camp, thirteen-year-old Mai Yang and her grandmother are about to experience that dream. In American, they will be reunited with their only remaining relatives, Mai's uncle and his family. They will discover the privileges of their new life: medical care, abundant food, and an apartment all their own. But Mai will also feel the pressures of life as a teenager. Her cousins, now known as Heather and Lisa, try to help Mai look less like a refugee, but following them means disobeying Grandma and Uncle. From showers and smoke alaims to shopping, dating, and her family's new religion, Mai finds life in America complicated and confusing. Ultimately, she will have to reconcile the old ways with the new, and decide for herself the kind of woman she wants to be. This archetypal immigrant story introduces readers to the fascinating Hmong culture and offers a unique outsider's perspective on our own. 
After ten years in a refugee camp in Thailand, thirteen-year-old Mai Yang travels to Providence, Phode Island, where her Americanized cousins introduce her to pizza, shopping, and beer, while her grandmother and new friends keep her connected to her Hmong hertiage.

About the Author:

Pegi Deitz Shea, a recipient of the Connecticut Book Award, has written many children's books. She lives in Rockville, Connecticut. 


In the Shadow of the Banyan

Book title: In the Shadow of the Banyan 

Author: Vaddey Ratnar

Genre: Young Adult fiction

Heritage: Cambodian American

Published Date: 2010 / 2012


Blurb: For seven year old Raami, the shattering end of childhood begins with the footsteps of her father returning home in the early dawn hours bringing details of the civil war that has overwhelmed the streets of Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital. Soon the family's world of carefully guarded royal privilege is swept up in the chaos of revolution and forced exodus. 

Over the next four years, Raami clings to the only remaining vestige of her childhood - the mythical legends and poems told to her by her father - and fights for her improbably survival. In a climate of systematic violence where memory is sickness and justification for execution, Raami fights for improbable survival. In the Shadow of the Banyan is testament to the transcendence power of narrative and brilliantly wrought tale of human resilience.



About the Author:

Vaddey Ratner was five years old when the Khmer Rouge came to power in 1975. Having endured four years under the brutal regime, she arrived in the United States in 1981 as a refugee not knowing English and eventually went on to graduate summa cum laude from the Cornell University, where she specialized in Southeast Asian history and literature. She lives in Potomac, Maryland.


Children of the River


Book title:  Children of the River

Author: Linda Crew

Genre: Young Adult fiction 

Heritage: Cambodian American 

Published Date: 1989


Blurb: Sundara fled Cambodia with her aunt's family to escape the Khmer Rouge army when she was thirteen, leaving behind her parents, her brother and sister, and the boy she had loved since she was a child. Now, four years later, she struggles to fit in at her Oregon high school and to be "a good Cambodian girl" at home. A good Cambodian girl never dates; she waits for her family to arrange her marriage to a Cambodian boy. Yet Sundara and Jonathan, an extraordinary American boy, are powerfully drawn to each other. Haunted by grief for her lost family and for the life she left behind, Sundara longs to be with him. At the same time she wonders, Are her hopes for happiness and a new life in American disloyal to her past and her people?


About the Author:

Linda Crew and her husband run Wake Robin Farm in Corvallis, Oregon, where they live with their three children. This remarkable novel won an Honorable Mention in the Fifth Annual Delacorte Press Prize for an Outstanding First Young Adult Novel Contest.

Linda Crew's friendships with the Cambodian refugees who work on the farm inspired her to write this novel.

http://www.lindacrew.com