Title: Tofu Quilt
Author: Ching Yeung Russell
Publisher: Lee & Low Books
Concepts: human resources, scarcity, child schooling and work, discrimination, economics of gender
Review: Young girls in Hong Kong during the 1960s lived in a society that favored boys in a multitude of ways that Yeung Ying felt and heard every day. As the first-born girl, Yeung Ying caused some disappointment to her father's family, to the point that her father dressed her baby sister in boys' clothes in the hopes of producing a boy the third time around. Fortunately, Yeung Ying was blessed with a strong-minded mother who valued education and insisted that Yeung Ying attend private school, even though this decision caused financial hardship for the family.
Yeung Ying loved school and did well, especially in writing. She dreamed of becoming a writer some day, inspired by a sweet dessert to which she was treated by a kind uncle after she recited many classical Chinese poems from memory. Although most girls did not attain more than a primary school education and they certainly did not earn an income from writing, Yeung Ying pursued her dream to attend college and publish her work.
This beautifully-crafted collection of poems will leave a lasting impression about the power of determination, encouragement, and creativity in the face of pervasive oppression. Just as the author herself was inspired by a sweet treat, she has written a delectable book that wraps a number of economics ideas into a unique collection of free-verse poetry. Readers will find interesting little stories with big lessons in every bite.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children