Land of Broken Promises

Land of Broken Promises cover
Land of Broken Promises by Jane Kuo

By Jane Kuo
Quill Tree / HarperCollins, 2023
229 pages

Ages 9-12

In this follow-up to In the Beautiful Country, Anna (Taiwanese name Ai Shi) is finally adjusting to life in the United States, where she is finishing sixth grade. Although her parents’ restaurant does okay, there’s no extra income to spend on fun things like summer camp. When the family realizes that Ba missed the deadline for filing paperwork to extend their stay in the United States, they fear they’ll be deported. Anna’s new summer plans? She’ll be working in the restaurant while her mom takes an under-the-table job in San Diego to pay an immigration lawyer. As the summer goes on, Anna begins to appreciate both of her parents as individuals with whom she has distinct relationships. She and Ma “try to outdo each other’s worry, / as if worrying is just another way to say I love you.” Anna and Ba connect over a love of literature, though they “inhabit two separate worlds… / His world is in Chinese. / Mine is in English / and there’s a divide.” Frustrated with the nonresolution proposed to their immigration status, Anna contemplates a speech prompt, “What America Means to Me.” Written in contemplative free verse, this story offers an honest exploration of one girl’s sense of self in a new home that’s not always welcoming. ©2023 Cooperative Children’s Book Center