Mehrigul, 14, is a Uyghur, a tribal group scorned by the Chinese communist regime. Facing obstacles that include her embittered father and her obligations to their farm, she has three weeks to make the baskets that will help her family and offer some hope for the future.
"A haunting tale of artistic vision triumphing over adversity." —KirkusReviews
Things aren’t looking good for fourteen-year-old Mehrigul. She yearns to be in school, but she’s needed on the family farm. The longer she’s out of school, the more likely it is that she’ll be sent off to a Chinese factory . . . perhaps never to return. Her only hope is an American who buys one of her decorative baskets for a staggering sum and says she will return in three weeks for more. Mehrigul must brave storms, torn-up hands from working the fields, and her father’s scorn to get the baskets done. The stakes are high, and time is passing . . . will Mehrigul's hard work be enough?
"In her debut novel, La Valley paints a memorable picture of this faraway people. . . . A haunting tale of artistic vision triumphing over adversity."
"For many readers, this book may be their first introduction to the Uyghur people, and La Valley strongly evokes the culture and struggles of an ethnic group whose future is less than certain."
"Engages and teaches."
"An absorbing read and an excellent choice for expanding global understanding."
—School Library Journal, starred review
"The carefully honed plot and palpable family tensions...will resonate with most youngsters."
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