Boyds Mills Press, Inc | 1994 | 127 pgs
Illustrated by Christopher Zhong Yuan Zhang
My "First Book of the Year" is a Children's Literature written by Ching Yeung Russell. It was a meaningful story about a poor young girl's various attempts of fulfilling her grandmother's childhood dreams and what she did would inspire both young and older readers alike.
Nine-year-old Yeung Ying lives with her cousins' family ever since her parents left her with them when she was five. Being the only Yeung in Chan's Village of a small town of Tai Kong, China, Yeung Ying is merely a simple-minded girl who is satisfied enough to have food in her stomach and a roof above her head. She is closest to her grandmother, whom she fondly called her "Ah Pau" (as in Cantonese pronunciation) and after knowing Ah Pau's childhood dreams is eating her first apple, she decided to buy one for her upcoming seventy-first birthday. Now apples are considered as a rich man's fruit back then in the 1940s and Yeung Ying has to find ways of earning money to buy that shiny red fruit as a present to Ah Pau.
As the story progresses, we see Yeung Ying going through all the troubles to earn sixteen cents for an apple. Through the course, we see her struggles, the mistakes she has made and what she has learned while making Ah Pau's (as well as hers) dreams come true. Truth be told, it was a simple story but yet it was touching and contains full of valuable traits that inspire readers to be filial, grateful, honest and most of all, not to be afraid of admitting your mistakes. I also loved it that this story details the everyday life of our young Yeung Yin and some of these descriptions are brought to life through Mr Christopher Zhang's lovely illustrations. Personally I felt this is a great book to be read together with your children and after closing this post I'm going to share it with my daughters.
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