Girl In Translation

Girl In Translation

Large Print - 2011
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Kimberly Chang has her world turned upside-down when she moves to New York with her mother from their home in Hong Kong. But their new life doesn't quite live up to their expectations - living in a vermin-ridden apartment in Brooklyn, the pair have only an intermittently working oven to keep them warm. They have nothing but debt and neither of them speak a word of English. While her mother works to earn two cents a garment at a sweatshop, intellectually gifted eleven-year-old Kim faces a new and trying challenge: school. Exiled by language, estranged in a new culture and weighed down by staggering poverty, Kim must learn to translate not just her language but who she is, as she straddles these two very different worlds.
Publisher: Leicester : Charnwood/Thorpe, 2011.
Edition: Large print ed.
ISBN: 9781444807240
Characteristics: 342 p. (large print) ; 24 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Feb 23, 2019

A well told story of the struggle of Chinese immigrants - in this case a mother and daughter - to build a life in the United States. Recommend. Kristi & Abby Tabby

Jan 11, 2019

I just got finished reading this and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It kept my interest from beginning to end. I appreciated that the author used this novel as a platform for her own experiences.

Rebecca_Kohn May 22, 2018

Powerful novel that delves into the American experience from the perspective of a young woman from China who fights for her vision of the American dream while simultaneously working in an illegal sweatshop. Kwok's writing is top-notch, it is a book you can't bear to put down because you feel like you are in the moment with the characters. While this book is set in New York City, the emotions, struggle, and drive of the main character have a message relevant to the entire country.

HCL_staff_reviews Apr 13, 2018

A Chinese immigrant and her teenage daughter experience love, loss, poverty and acculturation in this coming of age novel set in New York. — Sarah G., Eden Prairie Library

Jan 26, 2017

Great read! Hard to put down. What I didn't like was the premarital sex.

Aug 26, 2016

I love the story :) Must read book.

Sep 30, 2015

Loved this book. Beautiful and sadly poignant story of a Korean immigrant mother and daughter trying to make a life in the garment industry in NY. Kimberly, the daughter, is quite brilliant and must cope with American school in addition to working evenings at the factory. It's a life that I myself have never know, but the reality of child labor is true for some. I loved the character growth and development of Kimberly and admired her fortitude when coping with living conditions and life events that would cripple many.

Jan 19, 2015

What an important exploration of American culture through the eyes of an immigrant mother and daughter. Loved this book. Want to read more from this author.

Jun 16, 2014

An immigration story with a focus on the mother/daughter relationship of the main characters. Loosely based on the author's personal experience. It was a good storyline but the writing style was a little flat for me.

ChristchurchLib Jun 15, 2014

"Drawing on author Jean Kwok's own experience, this debut novel tells the story of Ah Kim, who emigrated with her mother from Hong Kong to Brooklyn, where she decides to go by Kimberly Chang at school. Their unheated apartment is condemned (and infested), and both must work at a sweatshop to pay back the aunt who financed their transport, but that doesn't stop Kimberly from excelling at school. Success there eventually takes her to Yale, but not without some hardships. Partially a coming-of-age story, this tale of an immigrant's experience offers "much to savor" (Booklist). Kwok's second novel, Mambo in Chinatown, will be published this month." Fiction A to Z June 2014 newsletter

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability
Jul 08, 2016

blue_dog_24155 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at WPL

To Top