Tangled Threads : A Hmong Girl's Story
by Shea, Pegi Deitz






After ten years in a refugee camp in Thailand, thirteen-year-old Mai Yang travels to Providence, Rhode Island, where her Americanized cousins introduce her to pizza, shopping, and beer, while her grandmother and new friends keep her connected to her Hmong heritage.





Pegi Deitz Shea has studied the Hmong people and written about their culture. She lives in Rockville, Connecticut. This is her first novel.





Gr. 6-8. Thirteen-year-old Laotian Mai Yang and her grandmother have survived the war that killed Mai's parents and 10 years in a Thai camp for Hmong refugees, so Mai is excited when immigration to the U.S. appears imminent. They fly to Providence, R.I., to join a family who emigrated five years earlier. Excited and confused by her experiences with American culture, Mai worries about her cousin Heather who challenges her father's authority. With the help of a compassionate teacher and sympathetic new friends, Mai becomes comfortable with American ways even as her grandmother isolates herself and fears assimilation. As seen through Mai's eyes, the wry observations of American habits are amusing and insightful. Her explanations of Hmong culture fit so naturally into the narrative, most readers will not need the appended glossary and information. Respectful and dutiful, yet resilient and independent, Mai wrestles with peer pressure and family expectations in a story that will resonate with immigrant students and enlighten others. ((Reviewed September 15, 2003)) Copyright 2003 Booklist Reviews





After ten years in a Thai camp as Laotian refugees, 13-year-old Mai Yang and her grandmother finally leave for the US. Mai's thrilled: transition classes have helped her learn English and to familiarize herself with the American way of life, and she'll be reunited with relatives in Providence. Despite the privations and casual rapes by brutal soldiers that were commonplace in the camp, tradition-bound Grandmother is less overjoyed. Once Mai has met her Americanized relatives, though, she has cause to be doubtful herself-and then appalled when her cousins reveal a shocking secret. Shea's text successfully portrays the turmoil, excitement, and heartbreak that come with repatriating. Adjusting to a new country and culture is never easy; the ideal is to blend the best of old and new, as Mai seems on her way to doing by the satisfying conclusion. (Fiction. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus 2003 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.






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