2 April 2013 by Clarion Books
E ARC from Netgalley.com
Also reviewed at YA Books Central.
Mehrigul would like to go to school in her small village in China, where she is part of the Uyghur ethnic group, but since her brother Memet has run off, she has had to stay home and help with the family farm. If she doesn't return to school, the loca government can send her off to work in the factories to fulfill its quota. There is a small possibility of hope-- an American woman has bought one of Mehrigul's vine basket for the enormous sum of 100 yuan, and has said she will come back in three weeks to buy more. Mehrigul runs into any number of obstacles to making more baskets, including her father's drinking and gambling, as well as outright sabotage of her efforts, but perseveres.
Strengths: Students in the US are woefully ignorant of the challenges faced by their peers in other countries, and any book that clearly shows these is one they should read. It's hard for us to understand how devalued women in other cultures can be, but Mehrigul's thwarted efforts bring this home. The additional information at the back of the book about the Uyghur group is especially helpful. Definitely ordering.
Weaknesses: While the detail about Mehrigul's struggles with her father is important, the repetition slows the story down. Some tighter editing might have made this even more powerful.
If you haven't been to Awful Library Books, head on over and wish them a happy blogiversary. What a great site!
I have been weeding for long than they have been around, honestly I have! (http://msyinglingreads.blogspot.com/2009/03/after-train-high-school-vs-middle.html) The good news is that I no longer weed books that SHOULD be on their site, as I did here.
On the bright side, I've been letting student and parent helpers have any of the books from the weeded cart, and no one has really wanted any of them. And when the cart was in the circulation area, they complained of the pong. (From dictionary.com "a disagreeable or offensive smell; stink"!). Since I got five new books from YABC to review last night, I think we're okay to get rid of things that don't check out. I'm also ramping up orders for this fall, so need some room!