cover image Onion Tears

Onion Tears

Diana Kidd. Orchard Books (NY), $15.95 (62pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05870-1

Through first-person narration, Kidd sensitively and eloquently conveys the thoughts of a young Vietnamese refugee who has found a new home in Australia with a kindly restaurateur. At the beginning of the book, Nam-Huong is unable to laugh, cry or verbalize her feelings to others; in her own words, she is like the wooden duck given to her by her beloved grandfather, who has recently died. No one knows how much she misses him and the other members of her family, with whom she has lost contact. Eventually, an understanding teacher helps Nam-Huong break through her shield of silence and reexperienceok the pleasures of being alive. Emerging as a mosaic of memories and observations, this concisely wrought novel proves highly effective in revealing how the narrator's past affects her ability to adapt to a new environment. Even if readers cannot relate to the atrocities Nam-Huong has endured, they will feel the depth of her sorrow and will come to understand her reluctance to reestablishok bonds of trust. Ages 7-10. (Apr.)