Paperback, 74 pages, 5.5x8.5, English
by Elmira K. Beyer
My Lee Comes To America is written for the eight to ten year old elementary school student who has contact with an English as Second Language program as a student of the program, is a student in a school housing an ESL program, or is a student in a school that has a number of students from other than English-speaking homes. The story is about a recently arrived in America Hmong family whose traditions and way of every day life are drastically different from the ways of their new home. Moving into a mixed neighborhood and enrolling the children in a school with an ESL program begins the familys adaptation to new ways while maintaining their own traditional ethical and moral values. The problems of being accepted into the neighborhood are explored, as are male/female roles and expectations, the family view of education in general and for girls in particular, and the problems involved for the children and the adults by not speaking English. The readers perspective is little My Lee, who acts for us as a bridge between the two worlds of her family. Intelligent and respectful, her experiences and her thoughts about them show us problems in the making and their thoughtful resolutions. While demurring to her older brother and his role, she is personally very concerned with making friends and participating in school activities which in America are normal for all students, but frowned upon for girls in her familys culture. She desperately wants to learn to play a musical instrument...the violin.