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by Carolyn Marsden


School Library Journal:

Gr 3-6– Noi, 11, lives in a small village in Thailand with her parents, her grandmother, and her older sister. Her carefree life, filled with family and school, is changing as farmland is sold to developers, costing her father his job. Money is scarce, and the girl is stunned when Ting is sent to work in a factory. Her horror grows when she visits her sister at her job one day and realizes that this might be her destiny as well. Noi, however, has other plans. She has been helping her grandmother, who paints silk umbrellas to sell at the market and knows that she has a talent. The interaction between Noi and Kun Ya, who teaches her how to paint with her entire body and mind, is beautiful, and reminiscent of Linda Sue Park’s A Single Shard (Clarion, 2001). As the characters go about their daily tasks, facing hardships and illness, but sharing their love, the story blends details about food preparation, modes of travel, work, and the celebration of a special holiday, presenting a real sense of this distant place. The Thai words sprinkled throughout the text are clear in context and also defined in a glossary. A simple but inspiring story of a child with talent, desire, and belief in herself.–Susan Oliver, Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library System, FL –Susan Oliver (Reviewed March 1, 2004) (School Library Journal, vol 50, issue 3, p216)


3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, Ages 9-12, Art, Family