What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Nine Days is a timely, thought-provoking adventure of international intrigue that finds two Washington, D.C., teenagers searching in Hong Kong and Vietnam for the girl's father, a Chinese civil rights activist who's gone missing. There's plenty of ethical discussion fodder, as they do this by running up the credit card bill of the boy's parents, who are out of town, and in the course of their adventures they try to help a truckload of girls caught up in human trafficking, who are destined for prostitution. Kids will learn a lot about recent Asian history, as well as local food and culture. A boat is blown up and some people are injured, but no one is killed.
What's the story?
Washington, D.C., 10th-grader Ethan Wynkoop, who's very interested in Chinese history and culture, becomes friends with classmate Ti-Anna Chen, whose parents are exiled Chinese civil rights leaders living in the United States. When Ti-Anna's father suddenly disappears on a trip to Hong Kong, the kids, armed with the credit card of Ethan's parents, take off in search of him. Their quest over NINE DAYS soon takes them to Vietnam, as well. The kids encounter political enemies and organized crime, receive assistance from a friendly local teen, and land in the midst of a human trafficking ring selling young girls into prostitution.
Is it any good?
Author Fred Hiatt is a columnist and editorial page editor for the Washington Post, which helps account for the fast-paced, well-crafted story packed with current issues. While Nine Days could easily have become didactic or preachy, the heavy issues are woven into an intriguing, compelling tale that will appeal to tweens' spirit of adventure as well as their sense of right and wrong. Lots of local color and cultural vignettes as well as appealing characters take young readers on an exciting journey with plenty to think about.
Families can talk about...
How might it be difficult for kids like Ethan and Ti-Anna, whose parents are big achievers in their particular fields, to pursue other interests instead of the "family legacy"?
What do you know about the history of China and Vietnam in the 20th century, and what it had to do with the US? What other stories have you read that deal with these events and issues?
Have you ever visited Hong Kong or Vietnam? After reading this story, do you think you'd like to?