cover image Parachute Kids

Parachute Kids

Betty C. Tang. Graphix, $24.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-338-83269-3; $12.99 paper ISBN 978-1-338-83268-6

Three siblings living undocumented in America must learn to adapt and fend for themselves when expired visas force their parents to return to Taiwan in Tang’s uplifting graphic novel debut. Ten-year-old Feng-Li Lin is ecstatic for her family vacation to America, but excitement becomes shock when her parents reveal that the kids will be staying in California under the care of family friends. The siblings enroll in new schools, struggle to learn English, and bristle at 1980s American culture and conventions surrounding fashion and food, all while contending with racist bullying. Feng-Li’s older sister Jia-xi, 16, manages the household while expediting her studies for upcoming SATs; 14-year-old brother Ke-gaˉng, who’s navigating private realizations about his sexuality, falls in with an unruly crowd; and Feng-Li just wants her siblings to stop bickering, and to fit in at school. Across crisp, boldly colored panels, the creator addresses heavy topics such as bullying, queer identity, and racism. Inspired by her own experience as a “parachute kid,” defined in an author’s note as children brought to live with friends or relatives in foreign countries, Tang balances humor and heart with the difficult realities of what parachute kids may face. Ages 9–12. (Apr.)