Tofu Quilt by Ching Yeung Russell

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This is a verse novel narrated by a young girl set in the 1950’s and 60’s in Hong Kong.   Written almost as a verse diary over several years, the reader gains a glimpse into the girl’s life.  Her family subsists mainly from her father’s tailoring business, but work ebbs and flows.  When the father is not working, he makes patchwork blankets that the girl calls ‘tofu quilts.’  Despite money being tight, her mother manages to send the girl to private school where she develops a love of books.  Her dream is to grow up someday to become a writer.

Family tensions are explored as the girl describes her father’s family becoming upset with the mother for sacrificing so much on the narrator’s education.  Gender is also touched on as relatives counsel the girl to respect her elders and to one day obey her husband.

Readers will appreciate the unique verse form of this novel.  I did not find this book to be particularly interesting, but I did appreciate the clean, elegant writing style.  For ages 8+

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