A Grain of Rice
Thirteen-year-old Yen and her family have survived a war, famine and persecution. When a flood ruins their village in rural Vietnam, they take the ultimate risk on a chance for a better life. (From Tradewind Books)
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From the book
Nam Mô A Di Đà Phật, Nam Mô A Di Đà Phật. The phrase once again echoed in my head. Why was I praying so much when I no longer had faith in Buddha? I trembled inside. My heart would not stop pounding against my chest. I found Ma and broke down.
"I don't want to go," I sobbed. "We can't go." "What happened?" Ma gripped my shoulders with both hands. But I couldn't tell her what I had seen. I could not find the words. For the first time in a long time, she drew me close to her, stroked my hair, held me and whispered, "We will be okay."
I wasn't sure if she said that to comfort me or as a prayer. Eventually I curled into a ball in the corner. I could not eat or speak for the rest of the day. I could not bring myself to tell Ma what I had seen, but she might have known. If any others knew, nothing was said, but I saw Tòa Cũ speaking to one of the local fishermen. Tòa Cũ made no mention of the fate of the boat that had left the night before, but surely word had travelled quickly. I watched Tòa Cũ like a hawk all day. His shoulders were drooped, his face a mix of fear and melancholy.
From A Grain of Rice by Nhung N. Tran-Davies ©2018. Published by Tradewind Books.