When the Circus Came to Town by Laurence Yep

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Ursula always wanted to see the circus. That is, until she caught smallpox. Now all she wants is to hide her scarred face. But Ah Sam, her parents' Chinese cook, has other ideas. He brings to town a magical circus and finds a way to give Ursula the confidence she needs to face the world. In return, Ursula finds a way to make Ah Sam happy. She creates the biggest, best Chinese New Year celebration that Whistle, Montana, has ever seen!

Based on actual events that occurred in the early twentieth century, two-time Newbery Honor author Laurence Yep's novel captures both the overwhelming pain of being different and the simple comfort in finding the community to which you belong.


About Laurence Yep

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Laurence Yep, born in 1948 in San Francisco, is a well-known writer of fiction for young adults. He has also written and edited several works for adults. Yep was educated at Marquette University and holds a Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Yep is Chinese American. He grew up in a black neighborhood in San Francisco, attended school in Chinatown, and later attended a predominately white high school. Much of the subject matter for his work comes out of his experiences trying to establish his own identity as a child and teenager. He writes about the experience of the "outsider" or "alien" and perhaps that is why his first writing was science fiction. Sweetwater, his first novel, was published in 1973 and is a work of science fiction. His second work Dragonwings published in 1975 is widely acclaimed. This is a work of historical fiction that deals with the Chinese American experience of the 1930's when many immigrants came to this country. Yep has gone on to write many other stories about Chinese Americans. He has also written mysteries, two of which have as the main character Mark Twain as a reporter in San Francisco. Yep has written fantasy works such as Shadow Lord and Kind Hearts and Gentle Monsters. Yep has won numerous awards for his work included a Book-of-the-Month-Club Writing Fellowship in 1970, the prestigious Newbery Medal Honor Book, and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award several times. Wang has worked in illustration, animation, and multimedia design for several years.
Published December 1, 2001 by HarperCollins. 128 pages
Genres: Travel, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Pa hires Ah Sam, a Chinese cook, to help feed the passengers when the stages arrive.

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Publishers Weekly

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Ursula returns the favor: after a blizzard scuttles Ah Sam's plans to spend Chinese New Year in San Francisco, she rallies the whole town to plan an elaborate celebration of that holiday.

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