Coolies (Asian Pacific American Award for Literature. Children's and Young Adult. Honorable Mention (Awards))

Yin and Chris Soentpiet

Published by Philomel Books, 2001
ISBN 10: 0399232273 / ISBN 13: 9780399232275
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Synopsis: When Shek and little Wong journey to America in 1865, they have work! Along with hundreds of other Chinese, the brothers are going to help build a great railroad across the West. But as days grow into months, Shek and Wong endure more than they could have imagined--bleeding hands, blasting dynamite, and treacherous avalanches. For very little pay. Are they being treated this way because of their almond-shaped eyes--because they are coolies?

Inspired by actual events in the history of the American railroad, Cooliesa reveals the harsh truth about life for thousands of Chinese laborers, while it celebrates the love and loyalty between two brothers who were determined not only to survive, but to succeed.

From the Author: INSIGHTS FROM AUTHOR, YIN: I am first generation Chinese American and was born in Brooklyn, New York. I grew up on the 19th floor on the lower east side of Manhattan. I did not learn about the Chinese contribution to American history when I was educated in New York City. This is due to a lack of books on the subject. I felt a need for the next generation to "connect" with a sense of pride of our forefather's sacrifices. It seems fitting to me to write about how my ancestors have worked on the railroads many years ago-and that was how COOLIES was conceived.

My grandmother was my key resource while I conducting the research for this story. The Chinese railroad workers were mainly from my village in Canton, China. This is why the early Chinese Americans can speak Cantonese, Chinese. For the most part, my family's history was a blur to my dear aging grandmother. Since this is a historical story, I had to compare her data and spend allot of time at the library researching. I had to fine tune the story and make sure the events and facts were truthful. Did you know they rode on a clipper ship not a steam ship? But this is only one example of the challenges to ensure that even their mode of transport was depicted accurately. The Golden Spike Museum in Utah was very kind to share some pictures and old original documents.

This story was constructed over two years with the guidance of my editor, Patricia Lee Gauch at Philomel/Penguin Books. In time, history can be forgotten. It is my hopes COOLIES will sustain that test of time because stories like this must be told again and again. Enjoy the book! -YIN

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Title: Coolies (Asian Pacific American Award for ...
Publisher: Philomel Books
Publication Date: 2001
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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