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We All Shine On,
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This review is from: Weeping Under This Same Moon (Paperback)
"We all shine on, like the moon, the stars and the sun. We all shine on, everyone, come on, come on." -- John Lennon from "Instant Karma"
Set in 1976-77, this important book explores a part of history that has long been overlooked. Mei, a Chinese girl living in post-war Vietnam is forced to leave her home country. Mei, her older brother and younger sister are sent by boat across the world to the United States.
Hardship is a constant companion on their journey. These young people have no promise that they will survive the long journey and being uprooted from the only home they have ever known had to be traumatic.
Hannah, an 11th grader is living a somewhat parallel life to Mei and her family. Miserable with high school life and often at odds with her younger sister Ruthie, 13 and feeling the painful age difference between herself and youngest sister Joni, 9 has left Hannah feeling every bit as adrift as Mei's family must have felt on that boat. Tired of peers who don't meet her needs intellectually and socially, Hannah lashes out inwardly. She develops an eating disorder right around the time Mei has food issues. Hannah can be viewed as a David fighting the Goliaths of insensitive teachers; distant peers who share no common vision and a world rife with societal ills.
Hannah, like Mei is a fighter and a survivor. She threatens to put out a citizen's arrest on a man who is smoking in public. Despite her sisters' outrage at her bravery, Hannah bangs on the drum for social issues. She cares about the fate of sperm whales and young seals; she tries to encourage her sisters to take an interest in the rights and backgrounds of minorities. As it turns out, she is very successful in her endeavors.
Hannah's life reaches a turning point in late 1977 when she sees a news segment about the people arriving from Vietnam via boats. For her, this is a pressing need that must be addressed. Hannah enlists the help of her family in collecting items to provide for the newly arrived families; she takes it upon herself to make sure the families she meets have smooth transitions as well as basic necessities.
This is an excellent book that I hope will be included in the curriculum of elementary and middle schools. This is a book that will touch hearts as well as raise consciousnesses. This is a book about the far reaching effects of global compassion. It is, in effect a global handshake.
As we, as humans hopefully move toward that goal of "living as one [world]," this book is a powerful reminder that we ALL weep under the same moon. We all shine on, like the moon, the stars and the sun.
John Lennon said, "I hope someday you'll join us and the world will live as one," from "Imagine" in 1971. "Imagine" and "Give Peace a Chance" could very easily be the soundtracks of this book.