Monday, April 22, 2013

Girl in Translation

Jean Kwok literally brings her characters to life in her debut novel Girl in Translation (Riverhead Books,
2010). The book traces the life journey of a Chinese girl Kim who moves along with her mother from Hong Kong to New York as an immigrant and takes on the challenges of poverty, underpaid labor, and cultural adjustments – her strength being the “talent of learning”.
Of the challenges Kim faces as a young Chinese immigrant in her new place, she specifically struggles with language. To her, learning English is at once the problem and the solution to her difficult situation. Given her gift of learning, Kim gradually takes control of her life and by the time she steps into adulthood, she has achieved what would make her and her mother proud. A tale of challenges and the courage to face them with patience, this novel has immense inspirational and motivational value, particularly for the newly immigrated people who have to grapple with issues of culture and identity in a foreign country.

Kwok’s voice is compelling, her talent of expressing character situations extraordinary. Far from trying to raise her protagonist to an inflated model of courage, the author lets Kim’s character come of age realistically, showing various shades of her person – the fear, the innocence, and the spirit driving her forward. The author’s approach is direct, her characterization anything but lofty so that the reader gets a sense of immediacy about the characters and their situations. By the end of the novel, the reader is most likely to be already in love with it.

Girl in Translation is one of the more refined works of contemporary fiction in English language. Whether immigrants or natives, this book makes an enjoyable and moving read of solid literary merit for all readers. 

ISBN: ISBN: 978-1594485152

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Angelina’s Angel

Angelina’s Angel (Robertson Publishing, 2011) is about a nine-year old girl Angelina who feels sad after her mom tells her they won’t be able to buy all the items Angelina wants for Christmas.

But when Angelina visits her Uncle Marty’s workshop, her feelings change to happiness and excitement. What gifts she sees there and how they cheer her up switch the mood of this story to sweetness and pure joy.  

Authors Marilynn Carey and Denise Carey-Costa have dedicated this very special Christmas story to ‘Great’ Uncle Marty. A life well lived is never forgotten, says the dedication page of this book. The story of Angelina and her uncle make the perfect example of what makes life really good.

Angelina’s Angel shows kids what is most valuable in life. It’s a book for all kids and makes an excellent Christmas gift, since the story takes place at Christmas time when happiness and hope fill the air all around us.   

ISBN: 978-1611700480

Friday, April 05, 2013

Edwin’s Flight

Interesting, inspirational, and uplifting – Edwin’s Flight (Trafford Publishing, 2010) by Denise Carey-Costa
is an important book for children and for parents – particularly those having children with any kind of disabilities. It tells and shows the story of a baby bird named Edwin, born with a disability and unable to fly at first due to his physical limitation. However, with determination and personal effort, Edwin overcomes his weakness and flies high as any other birds of his kind and age.

The story is touching and written in an easy-to-understand language so that children who are just starting school can read and learn from it. Edwin’s change in his situation from a depressed bird to a confident flying one has an empowering potential for many children with special needs who will readily identify with Edwin’s character. Nicole Sjostrom and Jonathan Iseminger have beautifully illustrated this book with colored drawings of scenes from the story.

Edwin’s Flight can be of great value to for parents and educators who live or work with children having special needs and are vulnerable to low self-esteem and/or lack of participation in activities due to their special needs. 

ISBN: 978-1426922176