Grades 6 - 8
Grade level Equivalent: 6.1
Lexile® Measure: 730L
Guided Reading: W
Type of Book: Chapter Book
- Historical Fiction
- Confronting and Resolving Fears
- Courage, Bravery, Heroism
- Chinese and Chinese American
- Tolerance and Acceptance
About This Book
Here is a gripping story of the hardships and contributions of Chinese immigrants in the American West, and a young boy's search for hope in a new land.
In 1865, 14-year-old Otter sails to the California coast after killing a Manchu solider in rural China. When he arrives in the Sierra Nevada mountains, he finds his adoptive father and uncle in a crew of laborers who are building the transcontinental railroad. Otter endures the horrific work conditions — poverty, cold, hunger, disease, death — and racial prejudice. He dreams of returning to China to defeat the Manchu and rid the country of European influences — particularly the opium trade. But it is in America that Otter must come to terms with his identity and the demands of a new society.
This Newbery Honor-winning book is an important introduction to a little-known period in American history. Young adults will admire Otter's bravery and his allegiance to his culture.
‘ Told with humanity and compassion… a tribute to the survival and courage of these immigrants.’ — 1994 Newbery Committee.
1994 Newbery Honor Book
Notable Children's Books of 1994 (ALA)
1994 Books for the Teen Age (NY Public Library)
1993 "Pick of the Lists" (ABA)
1994 John and Patricia Beatty Award (California Library Association)
1994 Silver Medal for Literature (Commonwealth Club of America)