CBR15Passport, Own (the reader copy, but due early April)
There is a lot going on within the covers of Parachute Kids: A Graphic Novel. This book is loosely based on some of the experiences author Betty C. Tang and the experiences of others like Tang had. And thankfully they did not happen all to one person, because as I said, a lot happens. We see the kids left to their own devices, scammed out of money, issues with language, issues with racism and even well meaning, but way off base, incidents.
Tang takes another look at immigration and the pursuit of the American Dream by showing us what a Parachute Kid is. We usually assume that if one immigrants, they come as a family unit. Or there is at least one parent staying with the child/children. In this case, due to rules that make it difficult to stay, Tang’s three characters are left in the states mostly by themselves while their parents go back to Taiwan. A friend of the family was supposed to help them, but the husband is transferred to another job clear across the country and that family must move, leaving the siblings by themselves. Now they (told through the point of view of the youngest, a 10-year-old girl) must keep under the radar, and not let people know that they were “parachuted in,” “dropped off” and are now here illegally.
There is some clever commentary on how we perceive people (just because someone is Asian does not mean X, Y, and Z), sexuality (the mother probably suspects her son is gay, but due to their culture and the times it is not really safe for them), our place in a family unit and how our families see us. But mostly it is how these children just try to get by, do their best, and try to find where they fit in when all they seem to do is stick out.
I am waiting for the final product to see how the illustrations come about. What the cover shows is what you got in my reader copy (though they were mostly black and white). Things are “bubble like” and I think that helps tone down the seriousness of things. You can come away with sympathy and empathy for the characters, or you won’t like them at all. Or maybe you will like situation A but not B. This is what I liked about the book as it was relatable. It shows that no matter who you are, where you’re from, or what your story is, we are alike and there are bumps, bruises and occasionally you might accidently buy the dog food can instead of the human food (but it works out by allowing you to play a prank on your frustrating younger brother).