The Vine Basket

The Vine Basket
Age Range
Release Date
April 02, 2013
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Things aren’t looking good for fourteen-year-old Mehrigul. She yearns to be in school, but she’s needed on the family farm. The longer she’s out of school, the more likely it is that she’ll be sent off to a Chinese factory . . . perhaps never to return. Her only hope is an American woman who buys one of her decorative vine baskets for a staggering sum and says she will return in three weeks for more. Mehrigul must brave terrible storms, torn-up hands from working the fields, and her father’s scorn to get the baskets done. The stakes are high, and time is passing. A powerful intergenerational story of a strong, creative young artist in a cruelly oppressive society.

Editor review

1 review
A Different Way of Life
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
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.
Good Points
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.
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