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The Journal of Wong Ming-Chung, a Chinese…
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This entire series is a wonderful way to learn history or teach it to adolescents. I find today's generations seem to recall more when they learn through other people (pop songs, celebrity gossip, etc.), so what better way to teach history than through someone else's perspective? Yes, "authentic" diaries would be "better", but would the language really hold the modern student's attention? Did the diary writer know what WOULD be important in the context of history? Probably not. ( )
  benuathanasia | Sep 5, 2012 |
"What kind of place can reach across a whole ocean and change someone that way?" muses Bright Intelligence, (normally referred to as Runt) about Gold Mountain-the Chinese name for California. Author Laurence Yep writes a compelling story of Chinese immigration in this "My Name is America" book. The reader finds out about the push factors (droughts, taxes, wars) that forced the Chinese to risk their lives on dangerous voyages to California and the discrimination and physical hardships which faced them at the gold mines. Though small, Runt (he's not called Wong Ming-Chung in the book) is smart and a survivor. He's also literate and the reader gets to discover his exciting story in his diary. This historical fiction book will inform students not only about how Gold Mountain changed the Chinese immigrants, but how California was changed by them as well. There are historical notes, photographs, drawings, and an author's note in the back of the book. ( )
  odonnell | Jul 20, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0590386077, Hardcover)

It is 1852, and 10-year-old Wong Ming-Chung, or Bright Intelligence--or Runt, as he is most commonly called--has arrived at the gold mines of California after a dangerous journey from China. Exchanging the famine and war of his native country for the brutal bullies and grueling labor in America, Runt joins his uncle and countless others in the effort to strike it rich on the great "Golden Mountain." Unfortunately, he, and most of the rest of the dreamers, soon discover that there's no such thing as a Golden Mountain, only dirt, mud, and tiny, occasional flecks of gold dust--flecks that are to be turned over to the owners of the mines, in return for barely livable wages. However, someone as clever and resourceful as Runt can still find true opportunity in this land. He and his uncle team up to find ingenious new ways of making money, and to defend themselves against the bitter, racist white Americans. Along the way, Runt develops lasting friendships with many people from all over the world, learning ways to communicate with them in spite of cultural and language differences.

A thoroughly engrossing addition to the Dear America series, this historical fiction is written in the form of a diary. Laurence Yep has proven himself a master in his art, with such titles as the Newbery Honor-winning Dragonwings, among many other tales about the Chinese immigrant experience. A fictional epilogue, photos from the gold rush era, and a historical note round out this fascinating page-turner. (Ages 9 and older) --Emilie Coulter

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:06 -0400)

A young Chinese boy nicknamed Runt records his experiences in a journal as he travels from southern China to California in 1852 to join his uncle during the Gold Rush.

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