Success and Survival

11 Aug

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I was excited to pick up Stacey Lee’s sophomore novel Outrun the Moon.  I’d read her debut novel, Under a Painted Sky, as part of my Morris committee work, but can’t comment on it.

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Suffice it to say, I was excited to pick up Stacey Lee’s sophomore novel Outrun the Moon. 

I teach gifted sixth graders who read well above their age level. Sometimes it is hard to find YA novels that are appropriate for 11 year olds. Many have rather mature content. So it is refreshing to find books that are written for an older audience, address important issues AND are suitable for a 6th grade classroom. Both Stacy Lee’s historical fiction novels meet those criteria. Both feature strong Chinese-American female protagonists, also excellent for my majority minority classroom. While Under a Painted Sky  centered on the Oregon Trail, Outrun the Moon is asset during the San Francisco earthquake of  1906.

Publisher’s Summary: San Francisco, 1906: Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty of Chinatown, and an education at St. Clare’s School for Girls is her best hope. Although St. Clare’s is off-limits to all but the wealthiest white girls, Mercy gains admittance through a mix of cunning and a little bribery, only to discover that getting in was the easiest part. Not to be undone by a bunch of spoiled heiresses, Mercy stands strong—until disaster strikes.

On April 18, a historic earthquake rocks San Francisco, destroying Mercy’s home and school. Now she’s forced to wait with her classmates for their families in a temporary park encampment. Though fires might rage, and the city may be in shambles, Mercy can’t sit by while they wait for the army to bring help—she still has the “bossy” cheeks that mark her as someone who gets things done. But what can one teenage girl do to heal so many suffering in her broken city?

An engaging story about what it takes to succeed and survive.

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