TALES FROM GOLD MOUNTAIN: STORIES OF THE CHINESE IN THE NEW WORLD
Paul Yee. Illustrated by Simon Ng.
Volume 18 Number 2
Tales from Gold Mountain is a collection of eight original folktales about Chinese immigrants in North America with accompanying illustrations by Simon Ng. Each tale is relatively short, no more than two or three pages, but each one deals with some very important themes such as prejudice, racism and dishonesty, generally unpleasant topics for children's stories. But that is the nature of the folktale and Paul Yee uses it skilfully to give us glimpses into the hardships faced by the Chinese as they tried to make a new life in Canada. It is also a glimpse of the conflict between old customs and new ideas. In one tale, for example, a young man leaves China in search of his father who has not been heard from since he left for Canada. While he searches, the young man finds work laying the tracks for the railroad. It is difficult and often dangerous work. Eventually, Chu speaks with his father's spirit, who tells the story of his death and demands a proper resting place. Chu is able to perform the necessary deed and the work on the railroad resumes.This is a good book to use for book talks and reading out loud because of its scary tales of revenge, ghosts and spirits. Dramatic illustrations begin each tale. These portraits appear to be chiselled in cold, gray stone and help to send chills up and down the spine. These are tales to be read and re-read with children so that they can learn from the past.
Constance Hall, Hamilton, ON.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
Young Canada Works