Pandas on the Eastside

Pandas on the Eastside

Book - 2016
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When Journey Song hears that two pandas are being held in a warehouse in her beloved and poverty-stricken neighborhood, she worries that they may be hungry, cold and lonely. Journey makes it her mission to save the two animals. But she's going to need some help.
Publisher: [Victoria, British Columbia] : Orca Book Publishers, ©2016.
ISBN: 9781459811430
Characteristics: 172 pages ;,19 cm.


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forbesrachel Jul 19, 2017

Pandas on the Eastside is s very touching story about a 10 year old girl who just wants to save some pandas and make the world a little better. Journey Song lives in an impoverished, and culturally diverse part of town. There are those who can barely speak English, there are others who have mental health issues, and prostitution, abuse, and broken families are the everyday reality. Journey knows this, but it is not what she sees as the defining qualities of these people, or her neighbourhood. Her ability to see the human being in everyone heavily influences the tone of the book, and our own perception as we read. The story is set in 1972, at a time when the relations between China and the United States were tenuous. Prendergast takes an historical event, that of presenting pandas as a gesture of goodwill, and attaches a small side note to it. An addendum to the event where a young girl works together with those in her community to save some creatures who are caught up in bureaucratic limbo. Journey understands that people grow up under very different circumstances, afterall she lives in the "slums" of the Eastside, but she also sees with a child's clarity, that people make things more complicated than they are. The ending leaves us with a feeling of empowerment, that, through kindness, the world can change for the better. We may never know what happens to these people, whether her Journey's father sticks around, whether Nancy ever learns to read English, or whether Contrary Gary gets the help he needs, but it doesn't matter because we get the sense that things will turn out all right.

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