Silk Umbrellas

Book review by Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Silk Umbrellas Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 8+

Lyrical slice-of-life from rural Thailand.

Parents say

age 8+

Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 7+

Based on 1 review

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Community Reviews

age 8+

A good read

This was a very much enjoyed book. My daughter is 8 years old and had no trouble understanding it and she really loved it. The characters were very likeable and so was the story line. Very recomended.
not rated for age

age-appropriate introduction to child labor

The story is a gentle depiction of a loving family of another culture, and their hardships and celebrations, including Buddhist and other ceremonies. The younger daughter, Noi, is horrified by the thought of having to work in a factory, like her older sister, and hence is motivated to work hard at her painting in hopes of being able to bring home money from selling painted umbrellas. Thus this is a gentle introduction to the concept of child labor. A message of the importance of cultivating your talents (so that you can do work that is personally fulfilling, rather than numbing work) is a great message to start conveying early, as is the implicit message of how fortunate most modern day American children are compared to children of other times and places. So for a younger or more sensitive child, not yet ready for, say, "Counting on Grace", this is an age-appropriate introduction to child labor, as well as a lovely depiction of another culture. So I give this book 4 stars for the much-appreciated message at an age-appropriate level. But it's a fairly leisurely and gentle depiction, probably only interesting to some kids; in particular, with its rather quiet and docile heroine, probably not interesting to many boys. (For older kids, in particular including boys, I might suggest the much grittier, dynamic graphic novel/memoir by Lat, "Kampung Boy", as a picture of a future comics-writer's childhood in Malaysia.)

Book Details

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