Tofu Quiltby Ching Yeung Russell
Based on the author’s experiences growing up in 1960s Hong Kong, this novel-length, free-verse poem follows a young girl who aspires to be a writer in a society that still questions the value of educating girls.
Luckily, Yeung Ying’s mother, who received an education herself, feels otherwise, and she scrapes together private-school tuition for her daughter. In individual, chapter-length selections, Yeung Ying gives a strong sense of her loving family, her vibrant neighborhood, and the impact of specific, life-shaping experiences, all in a spare, believable young voice. Readers will come away with a strong sense of both an individual and a culture, and they’ll appreciate the importance that small, daily details hold in Yeung Ying’s life: a shockingly delicious taste of a dessert becomes the seed that grows into her writing dream, for example. Young people will be inspired by Yeung Ying’s determination to realize her ambition and to find inspiration everywhere, from overheard snatches of apartment-house gossip to quiet family moments: “I always / perk up my ears / for treasures.” A welcome glossary and author’s note add further cultural context.
About the Author
Ching Yeung Russell is a Lee and Low author.