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by Chi Fa Lu


School Library Journal:

Gr 5-10– The power of positive thinking is amply demonstrated in this moving memoir. Born in the turmoil of the Sino-Japanese war in China’s Jiangsu province and orphaned at age three, young Chi Fa (“new beginning”) had more new beginnings than any child should have to face. He was passed from relative to relative and finally sold to a Communist village chief who treated him badly. Rescued by his sister 18 months later, he was returned to his unwelcoming relatives. At nine years old, he was the caretaker for a mute epileptic and then sent to Shanghai to join the brother and the family who had first sold him. In time, they ended up in Kowloon, where, for nearly three years, Chi Fa supported them by begging, until an aunt arranged for them all to migrate to Taiwan. For the first time in his life, at 13, he went to school, but after a year, he was pulled out to work. He contributed to that family until he was conscripted into the Taiwanese army. In 1969, he immigrated to the United States, following a dream he had had for 14 years. The strength of this book is in the clarity of Chi Fa’s personal story, his optimism and determination in the face of incredible adversity. The grinding poverty of daily life in China is clear. Less trustworthy is his understanding of geography and politics of the world beyond his family. Such errors make this touching story somewhat less convincing.–Kathleen Isaacs, Edmund Burke School, Washington, DC –Kathleen Isaacs (Reviewed July 1, 2001) (School Library Journal, vol 47, issue 7, p127)


  • Parents’ Choice Awards – Nonfiction: 2001


10th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, 9th Grade, Autobiography, Teen