The Gold-Threaded Dress

The Gold-Threaded Dress

by Carolyn Marsden


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780763629939
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication date: 02/14/2006
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 80
Sales rank: 263,461
Product dimensions: 5.19(w) x 7.63(h) x 0.23(d)
Lexile: 710L (what's this?)
Age Range: 7 - 9 Years

About the Author

Carolyn Marsden was born in Mexico City to missionary parents. She has been a writer all her life, but THE GOLD-THREADED DRESS is her first book. About THE GOLD-THREADED DRESS she says, "I wrote this story when my half-Thai daughter was being teased at school. As a parent and elementary school teacher, I watched her struggle to establish a cultural identity. I became fascinated with a conflict that is common to many children in our increasingly diverse United States." Carolyn Marsden has an MFA in Writing for Children from Vermont College. After spending the last twenty-five years in Tucson, Arizona, Carolyn Marsden now lives by the ocean in La Jolla, California, with her husband and two daughters.

Read an Excerpt


"Chinese, Japanese." Frankie pulled at the edges of his eyes so they looked like slits. "Americanese!" He let his eyes spring back to normal.

"I am not Chinese!" Oy wanted to say. But she just shook her head slightly. She put her hands over the picture she'd been drawing.
Miss Elsa had her back turned, helping other children clean out the hamster cage.

Liliandra was holding the straw-colored hamster, Butterscotch. She transferred him from one bent elbow to the other as he tried to scratch her with his tiny claws.

Oy hoped that one day Miss Elsa would allow her to hold Butterscotch, but she'd never asked. Other children always seemed to crowd around the cage first.

Frankie teased Oy when Miss Elsa wasn't looking. Because she was new, Oy didn't know whether to talk to her teacher about this or not. Maybe it wasn't serious. Maybe being thought Chinese wasn't a bad thing even though Frankie was trying to make her think so.

"Then what are you?" asked Frankie, putting both hands in his pockets, where he kept his special trading cards.

She was about to say: Thai. From Thailand. A country near China, but not China. A country with elephants and green jungle. But Frankie was already talking to Santiago instead.

Miss Elsa turned around. Oy uncovered her picture. It showed her family. But instead of giving them straight black hair and almond-shaped eyes, she'd chosen the brown crayon for the hair and had made the eyes round as coins.

At her old school, no one had said anything to her about being Asian. But since her family had moved across town and she had to go to fourth grade in a new school after the year had begun, this boy Frankie was already bothering her.

"What are you drawing?" Frankie continued. "It couldn't be you and your family. They're all Chinese. Those people look Mexican."

Mexican? She was trying to make them look American. She glanced up at Frankie's eyes. If only she had eyes like all the others, Frankie wouldn't be teasing her.

Because of Frankie, kids on the playground called her China, Spanish for Chinese, or sometimes Chinita, little Chinese.

Before Oy came from Thailand, she'd looked at pictures of Americans. They had light hair and skin and eyes. When she'd arrived in America though, she saw people of all colors, including very dark ones with black curly hair and even Thai people. Here at school, the children were mostly brown with round eyes.

Just then Liliandra let go of Butterscotch with a squeal. Frankie jumped forward to grab the furry body scampering past his sneakers. When he picked up the hamster, he turned toward Oy. For a moment, it seemed that he would reach out and hand her the soft little animal. But he walked away instead, making a show of stroking and cooing to Butterscotch.


THE GOLD-THREADED DRESS by Carolyn Marsden. Copyright (c) 2006 by Carolyn Marsden. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.

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The Gold-Threaded Dress 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
marciaskidslit on LibraryThing 10 months ago
The story teaches the struggle of a young girl who is caught between cultures. In her heart Oy respects the customs, traditions, and values of her family and culture yet she wants so much to ¿belong¿ in her new country. As Kun Mere teaches ¿To be alone is hard, Oy. But no friend is better than a cruel one¿ (p. 65). The book is a quick read for transitional readers. The story extends the awareness and understanding of diversity to young children. It is realistic, believable, and convincingly true to real life and is presented to young children in an unobtrusive way. The point of view helps children empathize with others who are different from them.
HilarySI624 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Oy finds it difficult to fit in at her new school, until some of her classmates see a picture of her Thai dancing dress and offer to invite her into their club if she will bring it to school for them to try on. A gift from Kun Ya in Thailand, the dress is a culturally significant object for Oy and her family, and the idea of it being used for dress up is a horrifying thought for her. The story sympathetically portrays the heartache of not fitting in, and the difficulties faced by children who are in a position to choose between the culture of their family and the culture of their peers. A story of the nature of friendship, Marsden provides the reader with a simple yet pithy seventy pages. This book would be excellent for any public library collection, and may be even more well-received in libraries with immigrant populations.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago