Twelve-year-old Kia Yang-nicknamed "Little Cricket"-has always lived among her extended family in their tiny Laotian village. But their peaceful lives are shattered one day when North Vietnamese soldiers destroy much of their village, and Kia and her family are forced to escape the encroaching war. After three years in a Thai refugee camp, they finally receive heartbreaking news: only Kia, her brother, Xigi, and their grandfather may emigrate to America. In Minnesota, Kia is overwhelmed by her new life, isolated by culture and language. It is only when Xigi gets into big trouble and Grandfather becomes ill that Kia discovers that they are not as alone as she thought-and that others are more isolated than she'd realized. Set in Laos and Minnesota in the 1970s, this is a powerful first novel from a promising writer.
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June 2004 : USA Hardback