After the deaths of her parents, 12-year-old Chou Spring Pearl is taken into the home of her father's wealthy benefactor. Unlike most Cantonese girls, Spring Pearl has learned to read and write, but she must now learn a new skill-how to survive in Master Sung's hostile household. While the Second Opium War rages in the streets and harbor of Canton, Spring Pearl faces battles of her own.---from the publisher
224 pages 978-1584855958 Ages 9-13
Keywords: girls and women, Asia, Asian American author, survival, orphan, first person, self reliance, 9 year old, 10 year old, 11 year old, 12 year old, 13 year old, part of a series, historical fiction
Part of the Girls of Many Lands series, this colorful novel introduces the spirited 12-year-old Chou Spring Pearl against the backdrop of Canton, China, during the Opium War of 1857. The recently orphaned girl has been liberally raised by her artist parents she can read and write and speak English but now she's a charity case, taken in by Master Sung, a wealthy friend of her father's. Life with Sung's arrogant wife and daughters (who call her "Miss Ratty" after her poor ghetto neighborhood) starts off rocky, but Spring Pearl rises to the challenge through strength of character, gradually earning the respect of the entire household.
When Master Sung is arrested and imprisoned, Spring Pearl's courage and ingenuity help bring the family safely through the ordeal. Spring Pearl has a bit of both Cinderella (she's assigned menial chores at first) and Mary Lenox (she restores the Sungs' neglected garden), but she emerges a fully realized character. Offering his typically lively dialogue and strong supporting cast, Yep (Dragon's Gate) also integrates period detail into a well-honed plot. A "Then and Now" afterword draws on Yep's story to contrast conditions facing girls in 19th- century China with those today. ---from Publisher's Weekly
As China's Second Opium War against the British and French rages on in Canton, orphaned Chou Spring Pearl is sent to live with the family of wealthy Master Sung, but when Master Sung is arrested for protesting the government's heavy taxes, it is the learned Spring Pearl that may be his only hope for freedom.---from the publisher