illustrated by Yangsook Choi
Nim, the protagonist in this sweetly nostalgic trip to San Francisco’s Chinatown of 1943, wants desperately to bring in the most newspapers for her school’s paper drive-especially after a classmate takes papers that were meant for her. Her eagerness to help in the war effort (and win the contest) vie with her obedience to her Grandfather, as she riskily leaves the neighborhood to collect more papers. But her determination pays off in winning both the contest and the respect of her Grandfather for her patriotism. Lee and Choy, each making a publishing debut, are paired with enormous success: their work has a clear symbiosis. Choi paints with a soothing clarity of line and a rich palette infused with yellow, “”aging”” undertones. The seasoned visuals enhance Lee’s text, which, while lengthy for the picture-book format, offers thought-provoking insights into Chinese American family life and the stresses of having an Asian heritage during the war with Japan.