Coolies: Yin



Author: Yin
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:

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


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