Back in 2012 I read and wrote a review about part one of the novel Our Lady of Kaifeng by Aya Katz. There were no issues with this review, but three years later I was searching for this book to read new reviews, and I noticed a pirated copy of Our Lady of Kaifeng. This illicit copy of the book claimed to be written in 1900 with a price of around two hundred dollars. Since this novel takes place in China at the onset of World War II, and the author was not born yet, anyone who is at all Google savvy would figure out this listing was definitely a scam. I alerted Amazon to this pirated copy of the book being sold without permission of the author and wrote a review warning others about it. I assume most people would know this was a bogus seller, but I did not want this copy to take sales away from the original author.
Today I discovered the pirated copy was no longer listed on Amazon, but then my review from this copy was now listed on the actual Our Lady of Kaifeng review page. This presented a conundrum since now my original review and the one about the pirated copy were now posted together on the same page, which had to be confusing to people looking at this book. I logged into my Amazon account to delete the review about the pirated book, but the system deleted my original 2012 review instead. I had to go back to find what I had originally written to restore my review, which was a lot of extra work. Luckily I had time to do this, but most people are not going to want to delete old reviews or fix issues like this. I think Amazon should delete reviews on pirated copies of books rather than just move this over to the actual author’s book. This is just a heads up for anyone who has ever written a review about a pirated book on Amazon. I definitely will not be doing this again.
Today I finished reading the children’s book When Sword Met Bow, which is a children’s book written by Aya Katz. There are many kinds of families out there, but the Katz family happens to have two children, and the youngest child is a chimpanzee son named Bow.
At first, Sword is annoyed with Bow and wonders why he has to wear a stinky diaper, but along the way she becomes fond of her new baby brother. This illustrated book would be an ideal way to explain a new member of the family to any older child who may be struggling.
When Sword When Bow is available over on Amazon for anyone who would like to buy this for children.
Ping & the Snirkelly People is a children’s novel written by Aya Katz. Although the novel is about a six year old first grader Ping, who is new to the United States, the reading level and content perhaps make this book more suitable children at or above a fourth grade reading level. Some first graders may also enjoy reading the story about Ping, but some of the grammar and humor will be lost on a younger audience, and this may even true for those with a fourth grade reading comprehension level. Actually, I think children around the age of ten might get the most out of this novel’s content, and this book would especially appeal to kids who are immigrants in a new country.
Ping is Chinese, but the story does not specify what country she is from. It is up to the reader to conjecture, but I think perhaps she might be from Taiwan since Aya taught there. However, perhaps Ping is from China, but the good part about keeping Ping’s origins open-ended is this allows the reader to use their imagination. For people who love the use of fantastical musings, Ping has these in spades, and her interpretation of events is enjoyable to read through-out this novel.
On the first day of school Ping does not understand English, so she makes the mistake of copying the paper of her desk-mate Olivia, who is not the brightest pupil in the class. After realizing Olivia did not understand the cat was supposed to be colored black, and the ball of yarn red, Ping comprehends that she must think for herself, as her teacher Mrs. Eunice also instructs her.
Ping becomes friends with Olivia, and one of their early experiences together helps her realize she can visualize English words.
Olivia is prattling on during their walk when the two spot a deer in the woods. Ping remembers how Olivia says the word “Dee-er!”, and from then on she begins to break up larger words into smaller words. This process helps her decode the English language, and Ping makes quick progress in reading and writing. She is also speaking English quite fluently before she realizes it.
Ping’s father notices she is not stimulated enough, so he orders her books to read outside of school. He has high expectations of Ping, but he is not the helicopter parent who shadows her every move. He even helps Ping run away from home when Olivia dares her to do so, rather than scold her and/or ground her. Ping got the idea of running away from home by reading Tom Sawyer, which is well above the reading comprehension level of the average first grader.
Through out the story Ping struggles to learn the meaning behind the Pledge of Allegiance, and discusses ideas about religion, government, and culture with her classmates, teacher, and parents. Some of her ideas are not always well received by her counterparts, such as Olivia, but I enjoyed reading about things from Ping’s perspective.
This novel illustrates how as an second language learner that a person has be completely immersed in a new culture, and reminds me of why I never truly mastered French or Spanish. As an adult I am beginning to learn a bit more of each language, but to truly master either language, I would have to live in the countries where these are spoken every day.
Ping makes leaps and bounds in the English language because she is confronted with no other choice, and at the end she realizes she has learned much, but what have her classmates learned, she ponders. Ping becomes a philosopher at quite a young age, and the reader is left wondering if there will be a sequel. Well there be one? Until there is news of a sequel, I highly recommend checking out this novel.