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The Whispering Cloth: A Refugee's Story

av Pegi Deitz Shea

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygDiskussioner
17415119,092 (4.13)Ingen/inga
A young girl in a Thai refugee camp finds the story within herself to create her own pa'ndau.
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The Whispering Cloth follows Mai and her grandma in a refugee camp in Thailand. During their time in the camp, Mai's grandma teaches her to sew to help decorate the pa'ndau, a traditional Hmong item similar to a story quilt. During this time Mai realizes and tells her own story, from the good times as well as the bad times when she lost her parents. Using the pa'ndau Mai is able to not only realize her own story but honestly think about what she has been through in life. This book would be wonderful for children who have survived trauma and could be read along with an activity that allows kids to draw out their own life stories. Just like Mai's, their pa'ndau would be priceless. ( )
  lydiachristian | Sep 30, 2020 |
There are many reasons that contributed to why I liked this book. One reason I liked this book was due to the dialogue. In this story, the dialogue makes the book more engaging by making it more imaginative and personal. For example, the main character, Mai, confidently says, “Grandma, I want to do a whole pa’ndau myself.” This short statement shows a lot about Mai as a character. The statement also fosters readers’ imaginations by showing confidence and emotion in Mai’s statement. Another example of dialogue is when Mai cries out, “I want my mommy and daddy” to her grandmother. This comment also displays intense emotion, become relatable and personal to the readers. Each of these examples engage the readers by fostering their imagination and connecting them emotionally to the story.

In addition to the dialogue in the story, another reason I liked this story was that it pushes readers to think about some of the deeper issues. This book is narrated by a child refugee in Thailand, so this book causes readers to think about the various struggles of a refugee. In the beginning of the story, Mai discussed how it felt like everyone came and go but she always stayed in the camp. In addition, in the middle of the story, the readers found out that soldiers had been firing bullets when Mai was a baby and at the same time, her parents’ were killed. Through this feeling, the readers naturally feel empathy for Mai, understanding her struggles. Knowing these facts push the readers to think about struggles that refugees have to go through. The main idea of this story is that through many struggles, it is essential to remain confident and hopeful in better times to come. ( )
  jstein31 | Oct 22, 2019 |
Mai wants to create her own pa’ndau, or brightly colored story cloths, but does not have a story for her cloth to tell. From the help of her grandmother, Mai masters the art of stitchery and reflects on her past. Heart break, tragedy, war, and confinement. In the life of a refugee, these were norms that were accepted as casual lifestyle traits. For Mai, these would be the story her pa’ndau would tell. This touching story tells of how living in a dark refugee camp can be told in even the brightest of ways. ( )
  dmrunn31916 | Nov 4, 2017 |
I think that the message of this book was the worth of something is whatever you allow it to be. I did not enjoy this book for a few reasons. The first was the lack of character development. I feel that the only character development was on Mai, the main character. While they mention Mai’s cousins who immigrated to America and Mai’s grandmother is intertwined and an integral part of the story, the reader isn’t able to identify what family means to Mai. For instance, Mai perfects her way to making her own cloth with embroidery and a painted scene on it but we do not learn the importance of the scene she painted. Were her cousins in the painting? Did she think about them when she spent hours and hours creating it? What made the cloth so significant to Mai?

While I was able to pull a message from this story, I think it might be more difficult for children to. I also feel that if the character development had been more detailed, the message of the story would have stood out more than it does. The only clear example of the message, in my opinion, is when the author writes that Mai’s grandmother wanted 500 Thai baht for her embroidered cloth but no one else would offer her this much. Later on when Mai finally felt ready to sell her cloth, her grandmother realized the worth was nothing because it was simply too sentimental to Mai. While the worth was nothing to a merchant, the worth was endless to Mai because it contained precious memories and feelings in and on it. This message is simply too distant from the actually story for young students to grasp in my opinion. ( )
  egerso1 | Sep 19, 2017 |
I really enjoyed reading this book for two reasons. The first reason is that the character of Mai is so realistic. She misses her parents and wishes they were still with her. The author does not take away her memory of her parents, but uses it as Mai's inspiration for making her own pa'danu. The second reason I enjoyed reading this book was that the illustrator had someone actually stitch the cloth they used in the story. The pictures are stitched together and the reader can really see the way the cloth would have looked. It's a beautiful way to enhance the story. ( )
  rlyon2 | Apr 6, 2017 |
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