Mehrigul would like to go to school in her small village in China, where she is part of the Uyghur ethnic group, but since her brother Memet has run off, she has had to stay home and help with the family farm. If she doesn't return to school, the loca government can send her off to work in the factories to fulfill its quota. There is a small possibility of hope-- an American woman has bought one of Mehrigul's vine basket for the enormous sum of 100 yuan, and has said she will come back in three weeks to buy more. Mehrigul runs into any number of obstacles to making more baskets, including her father's drinking and gambling, as well as outright sabotage of her efforts, but perseveres.
Students in the US are woefully ignorant of the challenges faced by their peers in other countries, and any book that clearly shows these is one they should read. It's hard for us to understand how devalued women in other cultures can be, but Mehrigul's thwarted efforts bring this home. The additional information at the back of the book about the Uyghur group is especially helpful. Definitely ordering.