Book Review – May Tang : a new Australian by Katrina Beikhoff
May Tang : a new Australian – Katrina Beikhoff
This book was Notable in this year’s Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Book of the Year – Younger Readers.
This is a book about a young girl who had to leave Shanghai with her mum to come to Australia to start a new life leaving behind her father, sister and grandfather due to the protests in 1989 in China which caused people to lose their lives.
It is a well-written book which details the Australian and Chinese ways of life beautifully as well as the challenges new Australians face when they first arrive. There is an easy flow through the chapters.
Noticing the Kookaburra in front of their window most mornings and its loud call, her mother commented, “I hope it doesn’t sound like that every morning or I will catch it and cook it with ginger and soy sauce” – this tickled me as it reminded me of how we Chinese can eat anything and everything under the sun and just cook them with soy sauce 😉
When mum had to go out and look for a job, May is dressed in her red clothes, for extra luck.
Adjusting to a new school in a new country was also very interesting for May when she noticed most of her friends eating white bread with its ugly black smear of topping and how she much preferred a wild baked eel, a giant lion’s head meatball or even spicy bullfrog – just anything but bread and black spread.
Her special bond with her yeye (grandfather) whom she had to leave behind in China was reflected regularly throughout the book and especially at the end with yeye’s advice which serves as a great reminder for migrants – “Wherever you go, you must go with all your heart”!
Overall, an enjoyable read and especially recommended for migrants like myself who will be able to relate to the story even though it is targeted at younger primary readers.
Below are some New Australian series books about children emigrating to Australia that are available in our libraries.
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