Reviews for Landed

Booklist Reviews 2006 January #1
/*Starred Review*/ Gr. 3-5. Like Katrina Saltonstall Currier's Kai's Journey to Gold Mountain (2005), this poignant picture book is about a Chinese immigrant boy trying to join his father^B in America. But this story is much more detailed, with a lengthy text that describes leaving the old country as well as the difficulties of getting into the new one. Drawing on her father-in-law's experience, Lee tells of Sun, 12, whose family employs a tutor to help prepare him for American officials' questions. Sun must memorize minute details about his home in China to prove that he is his father's true son. Indeed, Sun is detained on Angel Island, where he is interrogated for a month, and where he makes friends with two "paper sons," who have made up identities to get into the country. The story is told with quiet restraint; there are no emotional partings from Sun's mother in China, no tearful reunions with older brothers already in California. But the tension is always there, and Choi's beautiful, full-page oil paintings, in sepia tones and shades of green, are quiet and packed with feeling--especially evident when the boy, stripped to the waist, endures the humiliating medical exam and when, dressed in suit and tie, he faces his interrogators, trying to remember his story. Pair this with Lawrence Yep's Tongues of Jade (1991) and other stories of immigrants detained on Ellis Island, terrified of being sent back. ((Reviewed January 1 & 15, 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2006 Fall
Milly Lee offers a rarely presented and yet significant sliver of Chinese-American history: the degrading experience of a Chinese son seeking to reunite with his father under the Chinese Exclusion Act. Both the lengthy text and stiff illustrations lack emotional vigor, rendering what must have been an intensely nerve-racking and often sorrowful journey merely a bland but faithful account. Copyright 2006 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2006 March #1
Drawing on the reminiscences of her father-in-law, Lee details 12-year-old Sun's emigration to San Francisco from China in 1915. Sun's father, a merchant with a U.S. business, informs Sun that he will join his brothers, studying and working in America. Sun's tutor painstakingly prepares him for the challenges of immigration. Because of the Chinese Exclusion Act, Chinese immigrants, many of them boys, were detained on Angel Island, awaiting hours of interrogation about the minutiae of their families and villages. Officials sought inconsistencies exposing "paper sons"-boys posing as the offspring of U.S. citizens or merchants. Though a "true son," Sun worries that his poor sense of direction will cause him to answer incorrectly. Lee's narration of Sun's weeks on Angel Island-waiting, befriending two paper sons, and enduring the grueling interviews-is plain and measured, reflecting the serious burden Sun withstands. Choi's full-bleed and spot illustrations employ muted greens and ochres to depict village scenes, the sea journey and the detention center. This testament to the pull of "Gold Mountain" offers a bit of Chinese-American history in a handsome package. (author's note) (Picture book. 7-11) Copyright Kirkus 2006 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2006 April #2

In this picture book from the team behind Nim and the War Effort , aimed at older readers, comes a detailed, often moving story of immigration at Angel Island, based on the experience of the author's father-in-law. At Sun's 12th birthday celebration, his father, a merchant who owns an imported foods store in San Francisco, informs the boy that the two of them will soon be leaving their Chinese village for America. Here Sun will go to school and work at his father's store. Before they depart, a tutor prepares Sun to correctly answer the questions American immigration officials will ask, to prove Sun's identity. "One wrong answer, and you might be sent back to China," his father warns. The purpose of these interrogations becomes clear when Sun, separated from his father upon their arrival, learns from other young detainees that some Chinese families send boys to the U.S. who falsely claim to be sons of returning merchants or American citizens, to gain entry into the country. (In a concluding note, Lee fleshes out the historical background of these "paper sons.") The author builds suspense as Sun stumbles several times during his interrogations, and provides a rare glimpse into the challenges posed for Chinese immigrants in the early 20th century. The spare, though occasionally wooden, earth-toned pictures convey the Chinese landscape as well as the interiors of the ship and detainees' quarters. Ages 8-up. (Mar.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2006 February

Gr 3-6 -Entering America from China will be difficult for 12-year-old Sun because of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, even though he will be traveling with his father. He studies hard so that he can answer all of the questions the American officials will ask upon his arrival; he will be alone because his father, a returning merchant, will not have to be interrogated. When he arrives on Angel Island, where Asian immigrants are held for sometimes up to a year, he waits four weeks to be called. The only questions that he can’t answer are about directions, and it seems that he might fail the test and be sent back to China. Finally, with the help of a compass, he passes the test. Based on the experiences of the author’s father-in-law, the book recounts a story from a neglected and shameful era in United States history. An author’s note gives readers more information about the history of Chinese immigration and suggests resources for further research. Choi’s soft illustrations, reminiscent of those in Allen Say’s Grandfather’s Journey (Houghton, 1993), capture the spirit of the time with beautiful visual detail. This is a significant book; from it, students will learn much about this chapter in U.S. history.-Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI

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