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The latehomecomer : a Hmong family memoir
Kao Kalia Yang
Adult Nonfiction E184.H55 Y36 2008

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Yang, cofounder of the immigrant-services company Words Wanted, was born in a Hmong refugee camp in Thailand in 1980. Her grandmother had wanted to stay in the camp, to make it easier for her spirit to find its way back to her birthplace when she died, but people knew it would soon be liquidated. America looked promising, so Yang and her family, along with scores of other Hmong, left the jungles of Thailand to fly to California, then settle in St. Paul, Minn. In many ways, these hardworking refugees followed the classic immigrant arc, with the adults working double jobs so the children could get an education and be a credit to the community. But the Hmong immigrants were also unique-coming from a non-Christian, rain forest culture, with no homeland to imagine returning to, with hardly anyone in America knowing anything about them. As Yang wryly notes, they studied the Vietnam War at school, without their lessons ever mentioning that the Hmong had been fighting for the Americans. Yang tells her family's story with grace; she narrates their struggles, beautifully weaving in Hmong folklore and culture. By the end of this moving, unforgettable book, when Yang describes the death of her beloved grandmother, readers will delight at how intimately they have become part of this formerly strange culture. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Yang (cofounder, Words Wanted), of the Southeast Asian Hmong people, was born in a refugee camp in Thailand in 1980. Her family was forced to flee the Pathet Lao, of Laos, who singled out the Hmong in retribution for their aiding the Americans during the Vietnam War. With no homeland to return to and not necessarily welcome in Thailand, Yang's family took the opportunity to come to the United States and make a new life. Through all the tumult, Yang's grandmother was a particularly loving influence, providing strength and the stories that molded Yang's identity as a Hmong woman as her family settled in St. Paul, MN. Unable to trust her "voice" in English, Yang struggled in school until an English teacher recognized her talent and encouraged her writing. She is indeed a natural storyteller. Yang chronicles her family's journey and draws the reader into the Hmong culture with the stories she shares along the way. Most powerfully rendered is her relationship with her grandmother. Highly recommended for both public libraries and academic libraries with Asia collections.--Patti C. McCall, Albany Molecular Research, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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