The Secret Voice of Gina Zhang, an award-winning book for readers age 10 and up, tells of a girl who moved from China to Seattle and lost her voice. The book’s message is about what unexpected joy kids might find if they reach out to classmates who have trouble speaking English.
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Dori Jones Yang has written a variety of books, fiction and nonfiction, for children and adults. She grew up in Ohio, studied Mandarin Chinese in Singapore, and worked many years as a foreign correspondent in Hong Kong, covering China. Her first children’s book, The Secret Voice of Gina Zhang, won two awards and was reprinted in 2011.From School Library Journal:
Grade 4-6-On Jinna's first day of school in this country, she is nervous and confused. Her parents expect her to learn English quickly, but when she is asked to repeat a word in her ESL class, she finds she cannot speak at all, not even in Chinese. The problem grows worse and worse, until Jinna's inability to talk leads her fifth-grade classmates and teachers to believe she is slow or just trying to get attention. Only at home, while inventing the story of Princess Jade-Blossom, which she acts out with characters made of yarn, can Jinna find the courage to speak English. But this is her own secret world, one that she doesn't want to share with anyone, not even Priscilla, the lonely outcast who gradually becomes her friend. Priscilla helps Jinna find the courage to speak in her own way, to prove that even though she finds it hard to talk, she is learning; and that she, too, is brave, clever, and noble, like the princess in her imagination. Wonderfully crafted, with believable and sympathetic characters, Gina Zhang draws readers into Jinna's world of fear and frustration. Princess Jade-Blossom's adventures in the Land of Far Away are interwoven throughout Jinna's own story, paralleling the challenges she faces in her new life in Seattle. This moving and absorbing novel conveys the terrors of having to adapt to a new school and a new language.
Ashley Larsen, Woodside Library, CA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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