“She thought again about the tightness in her throat and wondered if something was wrong with her. She hadn’t simply refused to speak at school. She couldn’t speak.”

—Excerpt from The Secret Voice of Gina Zhang

The Secret Voice of Gina Zhang

The Secret Voice of Gina Zhang, an award-winning book for readers age 10 and up, tells of a girl who moved from China to Seattle and lost her voice. The book’s message is about what a joy it can be to reach out to classmates who have trouble speaking English. 

AWARDS

Winner of the 2000 Pleasant T. Rowland Prize for Fiction for Girls

Skipping Stones Honor Award, 2001

A Story of Overcoming…

Jinna has always been shy, but when her family moves from China to America, she vows to be the new “Gina”—brave, confident, and quick to learn English. If only her throat would cooperate.

Everyone is frustrated by Gina’s silence except Priscilla, a girl with her own need for understand. Gina wants to trust her, but can she let Priscilla in on her biggest secret, the private fairy-tale world inside her head?

Read a Short Excerpt

She struggled free and kept running, only to trip on her feet and fall in the middle of the library.

The librarian reached out to help her, but she pushed away the hands. A crowd of kids surrounded her, using strange words, reaching toward her. She got up and tried to ram through the bodies, but the librarian held her and guided her past the other kids

There is was! The front door! She tried to make a run for it. I’ve got to get out of here! Jinna thought. I can’t breathe.

I was blown away by this book

“I was blown away by this book – literally transported into Gina’s (Jinna’s) school and home. The author is a skillful storyteller, so you feel that you are there. You care about Gina and want to know what will happen next. Gina is smart and imaginative and wants to do well. She doesn’t yet speak English – and much to her surprise, finds that in school her throat is closed. She cannot speak in ANY language there. But with the aid of a friend and her imagination, Gina confronts schoolday challenges that many children face (pressure to perform, bullies, mean girl/teacher’s pet), as well as the specific challenges of her own situation. I want you to meet Gina and the Princess, the Monkey King and Pigsy. And I want you to meet the friend who dares to stand by Gina’s side. Together they are a great team. Dori Jones Yang has brought these girls to life. I feel that I have found some new friends and I think that you will be happy to meet them, too!”

NY Mom, Amazon review

Thanks for writing this wonderful story!

Five stars! It is really good!!!!! I really like this story. As a Chinese and a English learner. I feel like Gina is part of me. Thanks for writing this wonderful story! And I cannot believe it was written by an American!

rui zhang73, Amazon review

Great story!

“Awesome story about selective mutism. Just a few days ago realized my daughter has selective mutism. I read it without stopping, and hope my husband does the same thing. Great story! I want to read it to my three children also so they can learn about SM and help to understand their sister.”

Jeff, Amazon review

This is a powerful story to share in any school setting

Even though The Secret Voice of Gina Zhang was first published in 2000, it is a book that should be read today because of the prevalent problems of school bullying. Dori Jones Yang does a wonderful job creating characters who accept each other because of their differences. This is a powerful story to share in any school setting but in particular schools that have a number of immigrant families.

Mary, Amazon review

I was blown away by this book

“I was blown away by this book – literally transported into Gina’s (Jinna’s) school and home. The author is a skillful storyteller, so you feel that you are there. You care about Gina and want to know what will happen next. Gina is smart and imaginative and wants to do well. She doesn’t yet speak English – and much to her surprise, finds that in school her throat is closed. She cannot speak in ANY language there. But with the aid of a friend and her imagination, Gina confronts schoolday challenges that many children face (pressure to perform, bullies, mean girl/teacher’s pet), as well as the specific challenges of her own situation. I want you to meet Gina and the Princess, the Monkey King and Pigsy. And I want you to meet the friend who dares to stand by Gina’s side. Together they are a great team. Dori Jones Yang has brought these girls to life. I feel that I have found some new friends and I think that you will be happy to meet them, too!”

NY Mom, Amazon review

Thanks for writing this wonderful story!

Five stars! It is really good!!!!! I really like this story. As a Chinese and a English learner. I feel like Gina is part of me. Thanks for writing this wonderful story! And I cannot believe it was written by an American!

rui zhang73, Amazon review

Great story!

“Awesome story about selective mutism. Just a few days ago realized my daughter has selective mutism. I read it without stopping, and hope my husband does the same thing. Great story! I want to read it to my three children also so they can learn about SM and help to understand their sister.”

Jeff, Amazon review

This is a powerful story to share in any school setting

Even though The Secret Voice of Gina Zhang was first published in 2000, it is a book that should be read today because of the prevalent problems of school bullying. Dori Jones Yang does a wonderful job creating characters who accept each other because of their differences. This is a powerful story to share in any school setting but in particular schools that have a number of immigrant families.

Mary, Amazon review

Connecting generations and cultures through the lives of ordinary people

Dori Jones Yang is a writer who aims to build bridges between cultures and between generations. Author of a wide variety of books for different audiences, she loves to explore different countries, explain complex issues in understandable language, and make history come alive. 

Author’s Comments

When my daughter was in second grade, her teacher told me it was hard to find good books about contemporary Chinese children. Later, I volunteered in a Seattle classroom, using my Mandarin language ability to help immigrant students adapt to an American school. When I learned that the American Girl book publishers were sponsoring a contest for books about contemporary American girls, I decided to write a book based on that experience, featuring an immigrant girl from China. This book won the contest!

Author’s Comments

When my daughter was in second grade, her teacher told me it was hard to find good books about contemporary Chinese children. Later, I volunteered in a Seattle classroom, using my Mandarin language ability to help immigrant students adapt to an American school. When I learned that the American Girl book publishers were sponsoring a contest for books about contemporary American girls, I decided to write a book based on that experience, featuring an immigrant girl from China. This book won the contest!

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Enter your email to receive a free excerpt of my latest book, The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball.

You will also receive occasional updates about new blog posts and news about my forthcoming memoir.

 
 

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Thank You for entering your email. Please check your inbox for your free excerpt shortly.