Synopses & Reviews
Like many girls her age in India, thirteen-year-old Koly is getting married. When she discovers that the husband her parents have chosen for her is sickly boy with wicked parents, Koly wishes she could flee. According to tradition, though, she has no choice. On her wedding day, Koly's fate is sealed.
In the wake of her marriage, however, Koly's life takes an unexpected turn, and she finds herself alone in a strange city of white-sari-clad windows. Her only choice seems to be to shed her name and her future and join the hopeless hordes who chant for food.
Even then, cast out in a current of time-worn tradition, this rare young woman sets out to forge her own exceptional future. And a life, like a beautiful tapestry, comes together for Koly-- one stitch at a time.
Books for the Teen Age 2001 (NYPL) and 2000 National Book Award Winner
"In her debut novel, La Valley paints a memorable picture of this faraway people. . . . A haunting tale of artistic vision triumphing over adversity."
"For many readers, this book may be their first introduction to the Uyghur people, and La Valley strongly evokes the culture and struggles of an ethnic group whose future is less than certain."
"Engages and teaches."
"An absorbing read and an excellent choice for expanding global understanding."
—School Library Journal, starred review
"The carefully honed plot and palpable family tensions...will resonate with most youngsters."
When thirteen-year-old Koly enters into an ill-fated arranged marriage, she must either suffer a destiny dictated by India's tradition or find the courage to oppose it.
Mehrigul, 14, is a Uyghur, a tribal group scorned by the Chinese communist regime. Against obstacles that include her embittered father and her obligations to their farm, she has three weeks to make the baskets that will help her family and give her some hope for the future.
Things arent looking good for fourteen-year-old Mehrigul. She yearns to be in school, but shes needed on the family farm. The longer shes out of school, the more likely it is that shell be sent off to a Chinese factory . . . perhaps never to return. Her only hope is an American woman who buys one of her decorative vine baskets for a staggering sum and says she will return in three weeks for more. Mehrigul must brave terrible storms, torn-up hands from working the fields, and her fathers scorn to get the baskets done. The stakes are high, and time is passing. A powerful intergenerational story of a strong, creative young artist in a cruelly oppressive society.
About the Author
Gloria Whelan is a distinguished poet and award-winning author. She has written many books for young readers, including Homeless Bird,
winner of the National Book Award; Angel on the Square; Return To the Island; Once on this Island,
winner of the Great Lakes Book Award; Farewell To the Island; Miranda's Last Stand;
and The Indian School
Ms. Whelan lives with her husband, Joseph, in the woods of northern Michigan.