Sunday, October 23, 2011

Girl In Translation by Jean Kwok

GIT is full of unforgettable scenery: a tiny Chinese girl and her mother in a NYC apartment in winter without central heating, huddled in front of the oven as cockroaches and mice scurry around the subzero room; a pack of underage sweatshop workers slammed into a squat toilet, sweating all over each other while they hide in the small space as inspectors tour the factory; a girl in a locker room ensconced in a stall to prevent her fellow students from seeing her humiliatingly homemade underwear. When Kimberly Chang arrives in NYC at the age of 12 with her mother, they are taken advantage of by mom's sister Paula, who sets them up in illegal housing and forces them to work at her factory in order to pay back their immigration expenses. Kim quickly realizes the only way out is through education and slowly proves herself to be academically gifted. Although there are many other immigrant stories out there, Kim's authentic and strong voice makes GIT a standout choice. Perfect for book clubs, especially mother daughter. Grade 8+