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“In this series opener, Vang’s prose is precise and urgent, capturing the moment-to-moment anxieties of Nou on her journey. The novel moves swiftly and nimbly, introducing its appealing characters and quickly sending them crashing into the undergrowth. In addition to telling the under-reported history of American-Hmong involvement in the Laotian civil war, the tale offers a timely story of the difficulties faced by war refugees. The trials faced by Nou and her family will linger with readers long after the book’s finale. The audience will be thankful that a sequel is in the works.
A lean and engaging tale about love, war, and family. ” – Kirkus Reviews
For full review, click here.
My publisher is Scarsdale Publishing.
The book is being translated into Spanish.
I’m Chia Gounza Vang. I teach middle school students.
History intrigues me. It helps us discover different society, culture, beliefs and politics from the past and how it evolves and shapes us today.
Rudyard Kipling said, “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Historical fiction is powerful. It helps me learn history. When I’m immersed in the character’s world, the story feels real, which makes history come alive. Using novels in the classroom bring interest and great discussions.
I wrote The Young Guardian series, young adult fiction, to provoke students’ interest in learning the Hmong culture and history.
The picture on the right is a story cloth called paj ntaub (pa ndau). It tells the story of the conflict in Laos and the Hmong’s journey to safety in Thailand. During the hazardous trek, the unlucky ones die of gunfire, starvation or drowning in the Mekong River.
My family was fortunate to have made it to safety with everyone on board, but not my husband’s family. Some of his family members were captured and some died. My husband almost died. His brave mother did everything in her power to save him.
The Illiterate Daughter, the first book in The Young Guardian series, is a work of fiction, but it is inspired by true events and contains real experiences of both my family and husband’s family.
The book is available on:
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Blurb for The Illiterate Daughter:
In war torn Laos, thirteen-year-old Nou daydreams of the legendary heroes and mythical beings who live in the folklore stories she loves to hear. Remembering them helps her ignore physical pain as she struggles through the endless chores expected of a dutiful daughter. Each night, she examines the two books given to her by her ex-soldier father and prays for an end to the Vietnam War. Only peace will allow her to attend school and learn to read the secrets locked inside her wondrous books.
In a late-night Communist attack on her village, Nou’s home, books, and illusion of safety are lost in the deadly flames and rifle fire that follow. Although her family escapes into the jungle, they leave behind unknown numbers of dead and missing friends and neighbors.
As her father desperately searches for a place to rebuild their home, he learns that the Communist soldiers who control the country are intent upon killing any man who fought alongside the Americans. Nou’s family must flee their homeland or live under constant threat of imprisonment and torture. But escape from Laos requires a guide able to smuggle large numbers of refugees through the jungle’s high mountain passes and across the Mekong River into Thailand, routes watched by patrols instructed to shoot to kill.
While the number of dead who litter their escape route increases, Nou increasingly draws upon her “worthless” folklore heroes for help in getting her surviving family members closer to freedom.
THE DREAMER’S DREAM, the 2nd book, is coming soon.
This book takes place in Wisconsin, United States of America in the late 1970s.