A Singing Bird Will Come: Naomi in Hong Kong


150 pages
Contains Maps
ISBN 1-894283-30-9
DDC jC813'.54




Reviewed by Laura M. Robinson

Laura M. Robinson is assistant professor of English, specializing in
children’s literature, at Nipissing University in North Bay, Ontario.


As this sequel to Naomi: The Strawberry Blonde of Pippu Town opens,
15-year-old Naomi is en route to Hong Kong where her single mother will
be teaching English. As the story unfolds, she learns to cope with a
culture very different from that of her hometown in Manitoba. After
witnessing the effects of a botched abortion, Naomi volunteers at an
orphanage and home for unwed mothers. She befriends a Chinese girl who
has been rejected by her family due to her pregnancy. And she
experiences jealously when her mother starts seeing a British man.

A Singing Bird Will Come imparts cultural flavor with Chinese proverbs,
descriptions of Chinese astrology, and Chinese practices like as feng
shui and tai chi. Unfortunately, the perspective is thoroughly
colonialist, upholding white Western culture and presenting tired
stereotypes like the aged Chinese man who plays the role of Naomi’s
wise mentor. The book is decidedly anti-Communist, both overtly and in
its implicit insistence on the glories of colonial Hong Kong, where
Chinese elders would be honored to serve and teach young white girls.
Recommended with (strong) reservations.


Schreyer, Karmel., “A Singing Bird Will Come: Naomi in Hong Kong,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 13, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/23560.