Review Blog

Aug 04 2008

The Buddha's Diamonds by Carolyn Marsden and Thay Phap Niem

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Candlewick Press, 2008.ISBN 9780763633806
(Ages 9-13) The Buddha's Diamonds is a simply written but beautiful coming-of-age story set in a Vietnamese fishing village. 10-year-old Tinh is intrigued by the bright red remote controlled car that a rich uncle has sent a friend, and instead of securing the family's fishing boat when a storm strikes the village he takes and hides the car. In the days that follow he learns about the strength of his Buddhist traditions as he helps his family re-establish. The values of commercialism are contrasted with the traditional Vietnamese values that prove to be more satisfying and more useful. The car's batteries are of course dead, but Tinh is able to have the boat's propeller fixed and to restore the ancestors' graves. He has started the journey into adulthood. The characters are simply delineated but believable and reading the novel is a rich experience.
Jenny Hamilton

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