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The Vine Basket
by Josanne La Valley

Overview - 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.  Read more...

 
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    The Vine Basket (Paperback)
    Published: 2015-08-01
    Publisher: Harcourt Brace and Company
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More About The Vine Basket by Josanne La Valley
 
 
 
Overview
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 woman who buys one of her decorative vine baskets for a staggering sum and says she will return in three weeks for more. Mehrigul must brave terrible 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. A powerful intergenerational story of a strong, creative young artist in a cruelly oppressive society.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780547848013
  • ISBN-10: 0547848013
  • Publisher: Clarion Books
  • Publish Date: April 2013
  • Page Count: 252
  • Reading Level: Ages 9-12


Related Categories

Books > Juvenile Fiction > People & Places - Asia
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Business, Careers, Occupations
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Social Issues - General

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2013-03-11
  • Reviewer: Staff

In this debut novel, La Valley introduces Mehrigul, a 14-year-old Uyghur girl growing up in western China, who struggles with poverty, an alcoholic father and depressed mother, and government policies that could force her to be shipped off to work in a factory. Mehrigul’s grandfather has shown her how to create cornucopia-style baskets from grapevines, a departure from the traditional handicrafts of her region, and one of them catches the attention of an American buyer, who pays extraordinarily well and orders more baskets on a tight (and probably impossible) deadline. The use of the grapevines as a metaphor for Uyghur resilience is a bit heavy-handed, but the blossoming of Mehrigul’s artistic abilities and confidence are inspiring. Her loneliness and hopelessness in the face of many obstacles are also resonant, as is her longing to return to school, despite the pressure and need to help her family financially. 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. Ages 9–12. Agent: Marietta Zacker, Nancy Gallt Literary Agency. (Apr.)

 
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