for The Whispering Cloth by Pegi Deitz Shea and Anita Riggio
Mai, a young Hmong girl living in a refugee camp in Thailand, waits for the day she might join her cousins in the United States. To pass time, Mai listens to the women tell stories of their Laotian homeland, and she watches the stories take shape inside the beautiful borders of the pa'ndau , the story cloth they sew. Wanting to stitch her own pa'ndau , Mai finds herself remembering the death of her parents and her flight from Laos to the refugee camp with her grandmother. An important narrative about the experience of Hmong refugee people is illustrated with full-color paintings and an actual pa'ndau stitched for the text to tell Mai's story. An author's note provides information on Ban Vinai, the refugee camp where the story is set. (Ages 7-11)
CCBC Choices 1995. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 1995. Used with permission.
Mai spends her days at the Widows' Store, listening to the Hmong women as they stitch and talk, stitch and talk. They are making pa'ndau---brightly colored story cloths--which they sell to the traders from Chiang Khan. Mai wishes she, too, could make one of the beautiful pa'ndau, but what story could she tell? This moving and poignant tale depicts life in a refugee camp in Thailand. Mai lives there with her grandmother, who helps her as she struggles to perfect her stitchery. Only by going back into her own brief and tragic past can she find a story to tell--one of hope and faith in the midst of war and confinement. Anita Riggio has rendered lush and sensitive watercolors that frame the story. You Yang, a Hmong immigrant, has stitched the pa'ndau that tell Mai's tale.
Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.