Illustrator: Chris Soentpiet
Publisher: Philomel Books
Publication Year: 2001
Brief Summary: A little boy listens to the story of his ancestors, who were part of the Chinese work force that helped build the transcontinental railroad.
Awards, Honors and Prizes:
- Asian Pacific American Award for Literature, 2001-2003 Honorable Mention Illustration United States
- Children’s Book Award, 2002 Winner Intermediate-Fiction United States
- IRA Children’s and Young Adults’ Book Award, 2002 Winner Intermediate Fiction International
- Parents’ Choice Award, 2001 Gold Picture Books United States
- Adventuring with Books: A Booklist for PreK-Grade 6, 13th Edition, 2002 ; National Council of Teachers of English
- Children’s Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, Supplement, 2002 ; H.W. Wilson
- Children’s Catalog, Nineteenth Edition, 2006 ; H.W. Wilson
- Eureka! California in Children’s Literature, 2003 ; Book Wholesalers, Inc.
- Kaleidoscope, A Multicultural Booklist for Grades K-8, Fourth Edition, 2003 ; National Council of Teachers of English
- Kirkus Book Review Stars, January 1, 2001
- Notable Children’s Books, 2002 ; ALSC American Library Association
- Sharing Cultures: Asian American Children’s Authors, 2001 ; ALSC American Library Association
Ideas for using this book in classroom or library and/or brief notes on curriculum connections/content learning standards/Common Core, etc.:
- Social studies: history of how the transcontinental railroad is built. Who were the other immigrants used for the railroad building project? Why do you think immigrants were the ones used?
- Discuss the term “coolies”…what does it mean? Why do you think it might be a derogatory/racist term to use? How do you think the Chinese workers felt when they were called that?
- Discuss the unfair treatment of workers back then. Why do you think Chinese workers were paid less to work more? How did the Americans judge them? (by their small stature)
- Discuss Chinese culture.
- Discuss immigration. Do you know which culture your family might have descended from (most Americans come from immigrant families)? How might the immigrant experience today differ from that of a long time ago?
Special features included (if applicable) — index; timeline; author’s notes; further reading; etc.
Accessed at: Thrasher Elementary Library