Listen, Slowly

Note: I wrote this review about five years ago, and am just publishing it now. I picked up Listen, Slowly by Thanhhà Lai because the story intrigued me. It’s about 12-year-old Mai, the daughter of immigrants from Viet Nam. Her parents have just co-oped her summer plans. Instead of spending it on the beach with... Continue Reading →

Brother’s Keeper

Sora Pak and her family live by a very strict set of rules. The family Bible is hidden under the floor. They must attend the local communist meetings. Their friends and neighbors keep disappearing. But they are afraid to leave their North Korean village. Until the war comes so close, they decide this is their... Continue Reading →

Bronze and Sunflower

Bronze and Sunflower are the names of two children in China who become inseparable friends - and eventually family. This sweet story by Cao Wenxuan was translated from Chinese by Helen Wang. Set during the Cultural Revolution, Bronze and Sunflower is a story of love, hardships and family life in the Chinese countryside (and not... Continue Reading →

Crossing the Farak River

I picked up Crossing the Farak River by Michelle Aung Thin at my local library because I noticed the name - and then when I read the description, realized it’s set in Myanmar (or Burma). My dad has travelled there many times, so I’ve developed an interest in the country and its people. Crossing the... Continue Reading →

The Samurai’s Tale

By all accounts Taro should be dead. The son of a samurai is always killed when his lord is defeated in battle. But Lord Takeda's soldiers decide to spare him, and take him with them. So Taro becomes a servant in the house of Lord Akiyama, learning how to be a servant. But when his... Continue Reading →

Words in the Dust

What is truly amazing about Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy is that this young man could write such a beautiful book from the first-person perspective of a young Afgani girl. Zulaikha (thankfully, there’s pronunciation guide in the back of the book) loves her family, especially her older sister and her father.  They don’t... Continue Reading →

Little Panda

Little Panda does not believe the story his grandfather is about to tell him.  "Tigers can't fly!  That's silly," he interrupts his grandfather. His grandfather shushes him, and gently scolds him for interrupting - and continues his story. And in the end, a tiger does fly! How? You will have to read the book to... Continue Reading →

Brush of the Gods

Brush of the Gods by Lenore Look and illustrated by Meilo So tells the story of Wu Daozi, one of China's greatest painters. As with all historical great figures, his story has been enlarged and exaggerated, although his artistic ability was not. Look writes a fictional account of Daozi's life, based upon references in Chinese... Continue Reading →

Starry River of the Sky

Rendi has a problem - an attitude problem.  In my childhood, a General Bad Attitude (GBA) was grounds for punishment.  In Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin, Rendi has run away from home, so his parents aren't around to punish him. Instead, he's forced to work as a chore boy at an inn... Continue Reading →

Seven Daughters and Seven Sons

When I read this book aloud to my children, they were on the edge of their seats, begging me to keep reading. Seven Daughters and Seven Sons by Barbara Cohen and Bahija Lovejoy tells the story of Buran, the daughter of a poor merchant in Baghdad. She has six other sisters, and her family despairs... Continue Reading →

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