PARACHUTE KIDS: A GRAPHIC NOVEL, by Betty C. Tang, Graphix, April 4, 2023, Paperback, $12.99 (ages 9-12)
Three siblings find themselves undocumented immigrants following a family trip to the United States in Parachute Kids, by Betty C. Tang.
Feng-Li can’t wait to discover America with her family! But after an action-packed vacation, her parents deliver shocking news: They are returning to Taiwan and leaving Feng-Li and her older siblings in California on their own.
Suddenly, the three kids must fend for themselves in a strange new world ― and get along. Starting a new school, learning a new language, and trying to make new friends while managing a household is hard enough, but Bro and Sis’s constant bickering makes everything worse. Thankfully, there are some hilarious moments to balance the stress and loneliness. But as tensions escalate ― and all three kids get tangled in a web of bad choices ― can Feng-Li keep her family together? —Synopsis provided by Graphix
The term parachute kids refers to children who have been “dropped off” in a foreign country while their parents stay in the home country. The idea is that these kids will gain a better education and a promising future by coming to America.
Author Betty C. Tang is one such kid. She was 10-years-old in 1979 when she and her siblings arrived in the US. Though Parachute Kids is not a memoir, it does draw from her family’s experiences as well as those of other immigrants she’s met throughout her life.
And that’s why Parachute Kids works so well. Tang tells her truth through text and illustrations that are a mix of thoughtful and humorous. There’s joy and there’s pain and everything in between. Her illustrations are full of energy — expressive and detailed. The pacing is spot on, and the flow makes you want to keep turning the pages.
Tang doesn’t shy away from complicated family and social dynamics, providing a narrative that’s moving and entertaining at the same time. It’s an excellent option for kids who are drawn to graphic novels and newbies alike.
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