Sharon reviews A Thousand Beginnings and Endings, edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman, Greenwillow Books, 2018, 328 pages
Tam and Cam have been prisoners in the royal city for 5 years now. They were “rescued” from their village and brought to the city for work in the counting office, using abacuses daily to count everything from how many people live in how many villages, to how many bags of rice are kept at the Emperor’s palace. Cam has come to accept that they will remain captives for the rest of their lives. Tam can only dream of escaping and returning to the village that was their home. One day she climbs to the top of the tree that rests against the city wall. Tam slips and begins to fall, but instead becomes a bird that can fly free of captivity. Cam wishes that Tam will return. It seems a dream. Can it really be true? Could Cam join her sister?
This collection of short stories, by 15 renowned young adult authors, retells Asian folktales and legends. Each story is written by an author of Asian heritage. Notes at the end of each story give the author a chance to talk about how their story relates to their lives. Stories that come from the cultures of China, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, the Philippines and more are included.