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by Many Ly


School Library Journal:

Gr 4-8– Amy, a nine-year-old Cambodian American, lives in a Cambodian community in Florida when she begins to tell her story. Troubled by rumors that her mother is thinking of leaving her father, she is stunned when her mother is gone one day, but not as distraught as her father, who seems completely unable to cope or to take care of his daughter. Over three years, readers see this traumatized daughter and father struggle together and finally move across the country to San Diego. There they find a more Americanized community, make friends, learn to support and take care of one another, and deal with the truth about the woman who has left them both. Amy worries about everything from friends, clothing, and boys to her father’s desperation, while she longs for her mother and integrates herself into the welcoming families in the neighborhood. Her love and respect for her heritage is always clear; to Amy, the Cambodian  language “…reminded me that a small piece of that ancient land…was in each ounce of my blood.” While readers will gain insight into a foreign culture, they will also realize how similar people are regardless of background. This is a good coming-of-age story, a good father-daughter story, and an excellent story about how immigrants become part of a new country while retaining their own culture.–Susan Oliver, Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library System, FL –Susan Oliver (Reviewed August 1, 2005) (School Library Journal, vol 51, issue 8, p130)


4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, Ages 9-12, Family, Identity, Loss