The Gold-Threaded Dress
The Gold-Threaded Dress
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Annotation: When Oy and her Thai American family move to a new neighborhood, her third-grade classmates tease and exclude her because she is different.
Catalog Number: #8892
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Inventory Sale Inventory Sale
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Copyright Date: 2002
Edition Date: 2006
Pages: 73 p.
Availability: Available (Limited Quantities Available / While Supplies Last)
ISBN: Publisher: 0-7636-2993-6 Perma-Bound: 0-605-08779-2
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-7636-2993-9 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-08779-8
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2001025132
Dimensions: 20 cm.
Language: English
All Formats: Search
Word Count: 8,142
Reading Level: 4.6
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.6 / points: 1.0 / quiz: 59111 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:3.7 / points:6.0 / quiz:Q35362
Lexile: 710L
Guided Reading Level: P
CHAPTER ONE

"Chinese, Japanese." Frankie pulled at the edges of his eyes so they looked like slits. "Americanese!" He let his eyes spring back to normal.

"I am not Chinese!" Oy wanted to say. But she just shook her head slightly. She put her hands over the picture she'd been drawing.
Miss Elsa had her back turned, helping other children clean out the hamster cage.

Liliandra was holding the straw-colored hamster, Butterscotch. She transferred him from one bent elbow to the other as he tried to scratch her with his tiny claws.

Oy hoped that one day Miss Elsa would allow her to hold Butterscotch, but she'd never asked. Other children always seemed to crowd around the cage first.

Frankie teased Oy when Miss Elsa wasn't looking. Because she was new, Oy didn't know whether to talk to her teacher about this or not. Maybe it wasn't serious. Maybe being thought Chinese wasn't a bad thing even though Frankie was trying to make her think so.

"Then what are you?" asked Frankie, putting both hands in his pockets, where he kept his special trading cards.

She was about to say: Thai. From Thailand. A country near China, but not China. A country with elephants and green jungle. But Frankie was already talking to Santiago instead.

Miss Elsa turned around. Oy uncovered her picture. It showed her family. But instead of giving them straight black hair and almond-shaped eyes, she'd chosen the brown crayon for the hair and had made the eyes round as coins.

At her old school, no one had said anything to her about being Asian. But since her family had moved across town and she had to go to fourth grade in a new school after the year had begun, this boy Frankie was already bothering her.

"What are you drawing?" Frankie continued. "It couldn't be you and your family. They're all Chinese. Those people look Mexican."

Mexican? She was trying to make them look American. She glanced up at Frankie's eyes. If only she had eyes like all the others, Frankie wouldn't be teasing her.

Because of Frankie, kids on the playground called her China, Spanish for Chinese, or sometimes Chinita, little Chinese.

Before Oy came from Thailand, she'd looked at pictures of Americans. They had light hair and skin and eyes. When she'd arrived in America though, she saw people of all colors, including very dark ones with black curly hair and even Thai people. Here at school, the children were mostly brown with round eyes.

Just then Liliandra let go of Butterscotch with a squeal. Frankie jumped forward to grab the furry body scampering past his sneakers. When he picked up the hamster, he turned toward Oy. For a moment, it seemed that he would reach out and hand her the soft little animal. But he walked away instead, making a show of stroking and cooing to Butterscotch.

_______

THE GOLD-THREADED DRESS by Carolyn Marsden. Copyright (c) 2006 by Carolyn Marsden. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.

"A fine novel for early independent readers that conveys lots of information about Thailand and making friends." — NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

In Thailand she was named Oy, but here in America the teachers call her Olivia. Other things are not so easy to change, however. When Oy draws a portrait of herself with brown hair and eyes as round as coins, her classmate Frankie makes fun of her and calls her Chinese. And the popular girl Liliandra barely speaks to her, until she learns that Oy has something very special: a Thai dancing dress from her grandmother, shimmering with pink silk and golden threads, that makes her look like a princess. Will Oy risk shaming her family to win Liliandra’s approval - and be part of the club she has envied from afar? With compassion and rare insight, Carolyn Marsden tells a simple tale about a young girl who searches for acceptance in a complex culture, while learning to treasure all that she is.


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