Monday, September 13, 2010

Children’s Books: Little Paradise by Gabrielle Wang

Mirabel (Lei An) is a Chinese girl in wartime Melbourne. Her family has been in Australia since the gold rushes, but they are still Chinese, in culture and lifestyle, and her father is a strong supporter of the Nationalist government back home.

When Chinese soldier Jin Jing (JJ) arrives from Shanghai, Mirabel knows she is in love. When JJ is posted back to China, Mirabel follows -- and so does adventure.

Little Paradise (Penguin Australia) is a wartime adventure-romance based on the true story of the author’s parents. It is very visual: Melbourne during the 1940s, filled with American soldiers, Shanghai in the middle of a civil war, the life of Melbourne’s Chinese community 60 years ago. If no one turns this into a television mini-series, I will be very disappointed.

It’s written in Gabrielle Wang’s usual gentle style and will be very readable stuff for girls from about 14 upwards. Her heroine would be a good, strong role model, even if she wasn’t based on a real person. The language is not difficult and even medium readers can handle it.

Get it for your teenage girls who enjoy historical fiction.

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