The Vine Basket by Josanne La Valley

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Things aren’t looking good for fourteen-year-old Mehrigul. She yearns to be in school, but she’s needed on the family farm. The longer she’s out of school, the more likely it is that she’ll be sent off to a Chinese factory . . . perhaps never to return. Her only hope is an American woman who buys one of her decorative vine baskets for a staggering sum and says she will return in three weeks for more. Mehrigul must brave terrible storms, torn-up hands from working the fields, and her father’s scorn to get the baskets done. The stakes are high, and time is passing. A powerful intergenerational story of a strong, creative young artist in a cruelly oppressive society.

About Josanne La Valley

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Josanne LaValley traveled across the Taklamakan Desert to the Hotan region of China, where she spent time among the Uyghur. The recipient of an MFA in writing children's books from Vermont College, Ms. LaValley lives in New York City. The Vine Basket is her first novel.
Published April 2, 2013 by Clarion Books. 256 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Travel, Children's Books.

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Vine Basket

The New York Times

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In far-flung regions, two girls’ dreams are impeded by family obligations.

May 10 2013 | Read Full Review of The Vine Basket

Publishers Weekly

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In this debut novel, La Valley introduces Mehrigul, a 14-year-old Uyghur girl growing up in western China, who struggles with poverty, an alcoholic father and depressed mother, and government policies

Mar 11 2013 | Read Full Review of The Vine Basket

Gr 5–9—Set in present-day East Turkestan, Mehrigul is a 14-year-old Uyghur girl whose father, a drunken gambler, has forced her to leave school and work on the family farm. If she is not careful, she could be sent to China to work in a factory. Mehrigul's life seems hopeless until an American wom...

Aug 01 2013 | Read Full Review of The Vine Basket

Gr 5–9—Present-day East Turkestan is the setting for this compelling novel of a Uyghur girl's struggle to hold on to hope in the midst of poverty and oppression. Mehrigul, 14, has been forced by her embittered father to leave school and work on their farm, filling the role of her older brother, w...

May 01 2013 | Read Full Review of The Vine Basket

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