Landed: Sun is ready to leave his village in China for America, the place known as Gum Saan, Gold Mountain.
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Sun is ready to leave his village in China for America, the place known as Gum Saan, Gold Mountain. His father warns him, though, that passage will not be easy. Because of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, new immigrants like Sun are detained at Angel Island until they are called to take a difficult oral exam before they can “land” – leave Angel Island and go ashore.
On the boat, Sun had studied maps of his village and memorized facts about his ancestors. But as the weeks pass in detainment, the map’s compass points swirl in his memory, and Sun worries that he will lose his direction and be turned away.
The oil paintings are rich with historical details in this vivid recounting, based on the author’s father-in-law’s experiences, of a disturbing chapter in Chinese American history.
Milly Lee grew up in San Francisco’s Chinatown and was known as Mildred Chan. Her household as full with grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins all living under one roof. Milly that that stories about bicultural children and their experiences needed to be told, so children would see their own likeness in books. Read more about her here.
“Entering America from China will be difficult for 12-year-old Sun because of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, even though he will be traveling with his father. He studies hard so that he can answer all of the questions the American officials will ask upon his arrival; he will be alone because his father, a returning merchant, will not have to be interrogated. When he arrives on Angel Island, where Asian immigrants are held for sometimes up to a year, he waits four weeks to be called. The only questions that he can’t answer are about directions, and it seems that he might fail the test and be sent back to China. Finally, with the help of a compass, he passes the test. Based on the experiences of the authors father-in-law, the book recounts a story from a neglected and shameful era in United States history. An authors note gives readers more information about the history of Chinese immigration and suggests resources for further research. Chois soft illustrations, reminiscent of those in Allen Says Grandfathers Journey (Houghton, 1993), capture the spirit of the time with beautiful visual detail. This is a significant book; from it, students will learn much about this chapter in U.S. history.” –Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“Like Katrina Saltonstall Currier’s Kai’s Journey to Gold Mountain (2005), this poignant picture book is about a Chinese immigrant boy trying to join his father^B in America. But this story is much more detailed, with a lengthy text that describes leaving the old country as well as the difficulties of getting into the new one. Drawing on her father-in-law’s experience, Lee tells of Sun, 12, whose family employs a tutor to help prepare him for American officials’ questions. Sun must memorize minute details about his home in China to prove that he is his father’s true son. Indeed, Sun is detained on Angel Island, where he is interrogated for a month, and where he makes friends with two “paper sons,” who have made up identities to get into the country. The story is told with quiet restraint; there are no emotional partings from Sun’s mother in China, no tearful reunions with older brothers already in California. But the tension is always there, and Choi’s beautiful, full-page oil paintings, in sepia tones and shades of green, are quiet and packed with feeling–especially evident when the boy, stripped to the waist, endures the humiliating medical exam and when, dressed in suit and tie, he faces his interrogators, trying to remember his story. Pair this with Lawrence Yep’s Tongues of Jade (1991) and other stories of immigrants detained on Ellis Island, terrified of being sent back.” —Hazel Rochman Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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