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Book Review: Girl in Translation

Kimberly Chang and her ma just immigrated from Hong Kong to a dump in Brooklyn.

11-year old Kimberly must quickly adapt with being a superstar student and a sweatshop worker alongside her mother, while hiding the truth of her poverty and having the weight of her family’s future depends all on her.

Author Jean Kwok let’s us follow Kimberly through her struggles to learn a new language and custom. She’s a sweet girl who wants what most girls want, but she has a duty to her family and she knows that any wrong move she makes, could land her and her mother in jeopardy.

It was quite an enjoyable read and it was mainly because Kimberly was such an inviting voice and even if you can’t relate to her, you’ll understand the type of hardships most immigrants had to go through. It’s a wonderful story about hardships and triumphs- the sacrifices a young woman makes to ensure she and her mother will be able to leave the sweatshop and into a better home.

I thought the use of phonetic and literal translation was a nice touch as being Chinese myself, I always phonetically translated whatever Chinese that was spoken to me into English and it would always sound like a fortune cookie message.

As a first-generation born American whose parents were both doing financially well with two other children, I never felt the pressure to succeed or to endure the language barrier. But I knew how it felt to be one of the very few minorities in class and feeling like an outcast when my Caucasian friends did things differently than how I was brought up since my family still followed some traditions.

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
Rating: 5/5 stars

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