Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Star Maker by Laurence Yep

star makerThis is the story of a young boy growing up in the 1950’s in San Francisco.  In those days, Chinese-American families had no choice but to reside in Chinatown if they wanted to live in the city of San Francisco.  One of the good things that Artie discovers about living in Chinatown is that he is surrounded by all of his family.  His aunts, uncles and his grandmother all live close by.  On the holidays they get together and celebrate as one big family.  Since Artie is the youngest, he tries hard to keep up with his older brother and cousin.  They tease him constantly, and, in response, Artie makes up his mind to show off for them.  He boasts that he will get firecrackers for the Chinese New Year.  Good-naturedly, Artie promises to share them.  Cousin Petey promptly announces that Artie has promised firecrackers for everyone for the family’s Chinese New Year celebrations.  Now Artie is in trouble.  He wished he had kept his mouth shut.  Firecrackers are expensive and his family is large.  Is there possibly a way for Artie to get enough money together for firecrackers for himself and everyone else?  How Artie tries different ways to make money and solicits help for his project so that he can keep his promise is a wonderful story.  We meet Artie’s large Chinese family and learn about some of their customs and ways as they celebrate together.  The Star Maker by Laurence Yep transports us back to the early 1950’s in Chinatown in San Francisco where a young boy struggles to grow up and find his place in his large family.  This is a beautifully-written book that introduces us to the Chinese-American culture.  Review by Trudy Walsh

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