Fourteen-year-old Mai, a young Vietnamese girl of Chinese descent, is torn from a life of privilege and forced to flee across the South China Sea in the hold of a fishing trawler. Mai finds tenuous safety in a refugee camp on an island off the coast of Malaysia, where a greedy relative called Small Auntie offers her a place to stay–but her hospitality isn’t free.
Kirkus Reviews wrote, “Given the dearth of material about the exodus of the families that supported democracy in Vietnam, this novel has value in helping to bring home to modern readers the great costs they suffered.” The School Library Journal stated, “This well-written…story puts emotions and a face to the word refugee.” This event is recommended for ages 12 and up, and is free and open to the public.
After retiring from teaching junior high school, Joyce Burns Zeiss became a member of the Off Campus Writers Workshop in Winnetka. Her experiences resettling a Chinese Cambodian refugee family in 1979 and her subsequent trips to work in refugee camps in Africa fueled her interest in the plight of the refugee.
Her first novel, Out of the Dragon’s Mouth, is based on the true-life experiences of a fellow teacher who fled Vietnam as an adolescent to cross the South China Sea in the hold of a fishing boat.
To learn more, visit her website at http://www.joyceburnszeiss.com. For more information about this event and others at The Book Stall, call us at 847-446-8880.
Submitted by The Book Stall