Heather B. Moore, Allison Hong Merrill,
The Paper Daughters of Chinatown: Adapted for Young Readers from the Best-Selling Novelby: Heather B. Moore, Allison Hong Merrill,
Based on the true story of two friends who unite to help rescue immigrant women and girls in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the late 1890s.
When Tai Choi leaves her home in the Zhejiang province of China, she believes it’s to visit her grandmother. But despite her mother’s opposition, her father has sold her to pay his gambling debts. Alone and afraid, Tai Choi is put on a ship headed for “Gold Mountain” (San Francisco). When she arrives, she’s forced to go by the name on her forged papers: Tien Fu Wu.
Her new life as a servant is hard. She is told to stay hidden, stay silent, and perform an endless list of chores, or she will be punished or sold again. If she is to survive, Tien Fu must persevere, and learn who to trust. Her life changes when she’s rescued by the women at the Occidental Mission Home for Girls.
When Dolly Cameron arrives in San Francisco to teach sewing at the mission home, she meets Tien Fu, who is willful, defiant, and unwilling to trust anyone. Dolly quickly learns that all the girls at the home were freed from servitude and maltreatment, and enthusiastically accepts a role in rescuing more.
Despite challenges, Dolly and Tien Fu forge a powerful friendship as they mentor and help those in the mission home and work to win the freedom of enslaved immigrant women and girls.
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Publish Date: April 11, 2023
Page Count: 240
From the adult edition: “Recommend to fans of compelling, character-driven historical fiction inspired by true events, such as Lisa Wingate's Before We Were Yours (2017). YAs will be drawn to the dramatic stories of the young Chinese women brought to America.”
—Booklist, starred review
“Despite the disturbing subject matter, meticulously researched book is unputdownable. The book is as much a history lesson about a shameful piece of American history as it is a glimpse into the life of a heroine whose legacy lives on today: the mission home is still in existence, renamed the Donaldina Cameron House. Readers will come to care about all the women featured in the book and will marvel at the extraordinary accomplishments of a determined woman ahead of her time. Based on true events...Fascinating.”
—Historical Novel Society
“Many readers will find Dolly's bravery and commitment to her faith inspirational, and Moore's impressively detailed research makes this a good introduction to this often neglected chapter in American history.”