Tag Archive | Thailand

Nowhere Girl, by A.J. Paquette (fiction) – born in Thai prison, American girl seeks home

Far, far from anyone who knows her.
Far from the crowded streets of Bangkok.
A single twisted tree visible through the prison bars.

Luchi’s mother refused to contact anyone in the USA when she was transferred to Khon Meung prison in northern Thailand, so the sweet blond baby born to her there was raised by the women who shared their cell.

Imagine being 14 years old and riding in a car for the first time! Windows with glass and computers are equally new technologies for Luchi, as she travels away from the only place she’s ever lived, following the wishes of her mother who died just before she could give her daughter any concrete information about their family in the States.

Beautifully written and satisfyingly original, you’ll remember Luchi’s difficult journey long after you finish reading Nowhere Girl. Find it today at your local library or independent bookseller.

Book info: Nowhere Girl / A. J. Paquette. Walker & Company, 2011. [author’s website] [author interview] [publisher site]

Recommendation: Luchi Ann must leave the prison where she was born. As her American mother died, she told the blond teenager to “go home”, leaving scraps of information. Questions about her father always sent Mama into bleak depression – Mama, who was so glad to be relocated to this remote women’s prison in rural Thailand before Luchi’s birth, who warned her to stay safe from danger outside the prison. Oh, the inmates educated Luchi with every book they could find so she knows math and literature in three languages, but very little about the current world outside the prison walls.

So now she’s headed for Bangkok with an old list of phone numbers, a discarded letter, and her mother’s US passport. First time to ride in a car, first time to eat with strangers, first time to see buildings reaching to the sky… Trying to find answers to her mother’s past, to her own identity – this is no easy task for someone who has never before traveled wherever she wanted, never touched a computer.

Can Luchi discover the location of her mother’s home in America? How can she travel half-way around the world with no money and no passport? What is the danger outside the prison walls that her mother always warned her about?

A stirring tale of self-discovery and unexpected adventures, readers will be enthralled with Luchi’s reflections on life in Thailand as they root for her to succeed in her quest to fulfill her mother’s final wish. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

To Timbuktu, by Casey Sciezka (nonfiction) – art, teaching, love, travel

Nine countries,
Two people,
One true story.

Travel the long route To Timbuktu with Casey and Steven on this World Wednesday, sharing their everyday joys, occasional mishaps, and adventures on their two-year journey together.

Steven’s charcoal sketches perfectly complement Casey’s retelling of their experiences as teachers of English in Beijing (becoming residents instead of visitors that cold winter ), as travelers in Vietnam and Thailand (paradise of warmth and way too many tourists), and as observers in different towns of Mali, including the remote and legendary Timbuktu.

Returning to the US, they’ve established the Local Language Literacy foundation to provide humorous books to African students in their native languages. Casey’s first LLL book was translated into Bamanakan by a teacher they worked with in Mali, and 1300 copies are now in the hands of Malian high school students. Currently, she and Steven are working with author Daour Wade to create books in French and Wolof for students in Senegal.

What an adventure Casey and Steven had as they traveled together! You’ll be glad that you came along on their winding journey To Timbuktu!

Book info: To Timbuktu: Nine Countries, Two People, One True Story / Casey Scieszka, illustrated by Steven Weinberg. Roaring Brook, 2011. [author’s website] [publisher site] [book trailer]

Recommendation: World travel – that’s the plan for Casey and Steven after graduation. Now, actually getting jobs overseas – that’s another thing…

When they met in Morocco during junior semester abroad, the pair tried to just live in the moment, as they’d be in college on opposite coasts when they returned to the US. But they couldn’t let each other go and kept up their long-distance romance through that long, difficult year before graduation.

Casey dreams of living overseas and writing the stories told by Muslims who live in different cultures, examining how Islamic schools differ from others in the same country. Steven’s art is his passion; what career that will lead him to is still uncertain. As Casey writes grant applications for her research, Steven wonders how his future fits into hers…

When Casey finally gets funding to live and write in Mali – a year from now – she and Steven decide to travel and work in other countries along the way. Teaching English in Beijing, touring Southeast Asia, grabbing a quick rendezvous with their families in Paris, a detour through Morocco to see their host families again, then they’re finally in Mali!

But can the couple stay in love through traveler’s flu, bureaucratic red tape, and erratic train schedules? When Casey is piled-up with research, will Steven have enough to do? And once you’ve gone all the way To Timbuktu, what do you do next??

This autobiographical travel memoir leaps off the pages, thanks to Casey’s evocative narrative and Steven’s many sketches, taking us from their Beijing neighborhood to the schools of Mali and everywhere in between. And, yes, Casey is the daughter of author Jon Scieskza. (Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher)