Girl In Translation
Ah-Kim Chang moves with her mother from China to New York City in the 1990's. Her journey removes her from the life she enjoyed and takes her farther away from the memories of her father who died in China. Ah-Kim becomes Kimberly. A new name marks the beginning of her journey filled with translation, transition, and transformation.
Kimberly and her mother are sponsored by her mother's sister. Aunt Paula tells them they are very lucky to be getting the apartment waiting for them. Promises of a good job and home, however, are soon replaced by the reality of sweatshops and slums.
Kim is a very bright eleven year-old but the language barrier is enormous and she fails miserably at first. In addition to school, she takes on the burden of helping her mother finish her sewing job since they get paid per completed garment. Although this work was illegal, Kim's mother felt nothing could be done except to pay off their debt and move on since her sister, Aunt Paula, was the owner of the sweatshop.
The story continues through the years as Kim navigates through the tween and teen years, and into adulthood.
Girl In Translation is a story of determination, family, relationships, and survival.
This novel is a work of fiction, however, Jean Kwok, the author, shares similarities with Kim. Jean also immigrated to the United States and worked in a sweatshop as a child. See an interview with Jean Kwok: