A powerful story set in small-town Arkansas in 1955 that illuminates the friendship surrounding the arrival of Chinese immigrants in the segregated south. Azalea is not happy about being dropped off to care for Grandmother Clark. Paris Junction is nothing like her Texas hometown. And now she's been thrown together with, troubled Willis DeLoach, gossipy Melinda Bowman, and Billy Wong, a Chinese-American boy who has his own troubles. Billy's parents own the Lucky Foods grocery store, where days are long, and folks aren't always friendly. Inspired by the true stories of Chinese immigrants who came to the American south during the civil rights era, this poignant story reminds us all that home is where our hearts reside, and that friends can come to us in the most unexpected ways. This brilliantly nuanced novel is delivering a unique literary format. The story is told from two points of view: Billy Wong is rendered in clipped verse narratives that are interspersed with Azalea's emotionally expressive prose.
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by Eleanor Estes
by Jane Leslie Conly
by Gordon Korman
by Nancy Krulik
by G. Brian Karas
"In this quiet story set in the rural South of the 1950s, narrators Kate Simses and Todd Haberkorn bring this period of racial intolerance into sharp focus. Eleven-year-old Azalea reluctantly spends her summer helping out her injured grandmother, whom she barely knows. Though painfully shy, Azalea befriends Billy Wong, who helps run his Chinese family's grocery store. Azalea's voice is soft yet nervous while Billy exudes confidence and determination. Azalea's narrative is interspersed with Billy's thoughts and lists. Though Todd Haberkorn's voice for Billy's interludes is different from the rest of Billy's dialogue as delivered by Simses, the discrepancy doesn't detract from the whole performance. Simses's portrayal of Azalea's grandmother is exactly what you'd imagine--a mixture of comfort, warmth, and kindness with a hint of sadness. M.F.T. © AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine"
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