VATSANA'S LUCKY NEW YEAR by Sara Gogol

VATSANA'S LUCKY NEW YEAR

Age Range: 10 - 13
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

 An earnest first novel in which a preteen encounters both prejudice and friendship at a Portland, Oregon, school. Born in the US, Vatsana thinks of herself as American; she studies Laotian only at her parents' insistence, regards the arrival of immigrant cousin Ketsy with mixed feelings, and is both surprised and deeply disturbed when a classmate begins muttering racial slurs in her hearing. Her non-Asian friends respond to the harassment with outrage and by sharing experiences of their own: the family of one sponsored Vietnamese refugees; another recalls an anti-Semitic incident. Describing Vatsana's life at home, the author introduces readers to traditional Laotian food, dress, social customs and celebrations, as well as the importance of family--clearly, this is Fiction with a Purpose, but the lectures and cultural information are neatly interwoven into the story. Gogol has taught English as a second language, and it shows: her exposition is methodical, syntax simplified (in her thoughts, Vatsana generally refers to herself in the third person); important ideas are stated clearly and reinforced by repetition. A sturdy addition to the rapidly growing number of books about the Asian-American experience. (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Dec. 23rd, 1992
ISBN: 0-8225-0734-X
Page count: 155pp
Publisher: Lerner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1992