by Ching Yeung Russell
Lee & Low Books, Inc., 2009
Review copy provided by the publisher
This is the story of a girl growing up in a culture that values boys. Luckily, her mother scrapes together the money to send her daughter to school, where Yeung Ying falls in loves with books and stories and writing.
This is the story of a writer being born -- it is about her false starts and first steps and her perseverance and her dream.
This is the story of the impact a few good writing teachers can make on a writer's early life. The poem, "mr. hon," (did I mention, this is an autobiographical novel in verse?) tells about Yeung Ying's 4th grade teacher:
He reads usa Chinese translation of a storyabout three American boys froma long time ago,who rode a raft on the Mississippi River....And Mr. Hon is the first teacherwho displays my storiesmarked, "Great work!"on the classroom bulletin boardeven thoughIamjustagirl.
Not until her seventh grade teacher does Yeung Ying get encouragement again, when she hears, "Your story really comes to life" and "You write very well./ Keep trying./ You can be a writer someday."
I nominate Mr. Hon and Mr. Lee for inclusion on our list of 100 Cool Teachers in Children's Literature. (We are up to 128 Cool Teachers. Has there been a Cool Teacher in a book you read recently?)
For a fabulous review of Tofu Quilt, complete with mouth-watering photos, head on over to Jama Rattigan's Alphabet Soup.