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Song of the Buffalo Boy


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About the Author

SHERRY GARLAND is the author of many award-winning novels and picture books, including Indio, The Last Rainmaker. She lives in central Texas.


Gr 7-10-- Amerasian Loi grows up in a village in Vietnam, insulted by all, hated by many. A modern-day Cinderella, she works diligently for her uncle's family, is refused schooling, and made to share her mother's shame. Only Khai, a buffalo herder, sees Loi as a person, and proclaims his love. Lewd, unsavory Officer Hiep also wants her, and her fearful family agrees to the marriage. Loi and Khai run away, but their plan goes awry, and the young woman finds herself alone in Ho Chi Minh City. Armed with a photograph of her mother with an American soldier and a compelling desire to learn the truth of her birth, she survives the ordeals of the streets, helped by a brash, street-smart Vietnamese boy who wants more than anything to be an American. Loi finds a fairy godfather in a Vietnam vet who has come back to find his own child. He fails, but offers to sponsor her and take her to the U. S. She and Khai are reunited at the last minute, and all end happily. Garland speaks with an authentic voice, enveloping readers in the warm, fragrant air of rural Vietnam and the fumes and noisy crowds of what Loi still calls Saigon. She also speaks of the war and its devastation: families torn apart, brother fighting brother, and the lingering effects of defoliant. The easy use of Vietnamese adds to the realism. This is a compelling coming-of-age novel in which Loi has lived by rules that preclude her happiness in a land she loves. Only the neat resolution and fairy-tale ending weaken the otherwise well-told story. --Susan Middleton, LaJolla Country Day School, CA

"Packed with vivid details of village and city life as well as Vietnamese culture . . . Eye-opening."--The Horn Book "A compelling coming-of-age novel."--School Library Journal

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