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The Whispering Cloth: A Refugee's Story

Overview


Mai spends her days at the Widows' Store, listening to the Hmong women as they stitch and talk, stitch and talk. They are making pa'ndau---brightly colored story cloths--which they sell to the traders from Chiang Khan. Mai wishes she, too, could make one of the beautiful pa'ndau, but what story could she tell? This moving and poignant tale depicts life in a refugee camp in Thailand. Mai lives there with her grandmother, who helps her as she struggles to perfect her stitchery. Only ...
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Overview


Mai spends her days at the Widows' Store, listening to the Hmong women as they stitch and talk, stitch and talk. They are making pa'ndau---brightly colored story cloths--which they sell to the traders from Chiang Khan. Mai wishes she, too, could make one of the beautiful pa'ndau, but what story could she tell? This moving and poignant tale depicts life in a refugee camp in Thailand. Mai lives there with her grandmother, who helps her as she struggles to perfect her stitchery. Only by going back into her own brief and tragic past can she find a story to tell--one of hope and faith in the midst of war and confinement. Anita Riggio has rendered lush and sensitive watercolors that frame the story. You Yang, a Hmong immigrant, has stitched the pa'ndau that tell Mai's tale.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A Hmong refugee girl remembers painful episodes from her life in a pa'ndau, a traditional story cloth. Close-up photos of Yang's textured needlework "add to the [tale's] poignancy," said PW. Ages 3-8. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Gisela Jernigan
Mai, a young Hmong refugee in a Thai refugee camp, is lonely for her cousins who have escaped to America. While passing long hours at the Widow's Store, she comes to appreciate both the stitchery and tales behind the lovely traditional embroidered cloths made by the older women. With the aid of her wise Grandmother, she gradually learns how to make her own cloth and in doing so, comes to terms with her own short but eventful life story. Colorful watercolors combined with pictures of actual Hmong embroidered cloths help bring this sad but hopeful story to life. A glossary, map and short forward about the Hmong people also are included.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
"We'll fly from this camp before the rabbit breeds again." These words inspire Mai to perfect her embroidery skills while she and her grandmother are in a Hmong refugee camp in Thailand. As she works, she remembers her life with her parents before their death. The memories help her to stitch her own story which is told in 'quilt' pictures in this touching story.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781563976230
  • Publisher: Highlights Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1996
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 565,465
  • Age range: 3 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD780L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.64 (w) x 9.61 (h) x 0.16 (d)

Meet the Author


Pegi Deitz Shea visited Ban Vinai, the refugee camp in Thailand where this story is set. She is the author of Bungalow Fungalow and lives in Rockville, Connecticut.

Anita Riggio is the author-illustrator of several books, including A Moon in My Teacup and Beware the Brindlebeast, both published by Boyds Mills Press. She lives in Wethersfield, Connecticut.

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