256p. ebook available. Disney-Hyperion. Nov. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781484746905.
Gr 4–7—When Clara finds a note and photo from a kidnapped and enslaved Chinese orphan girl hidden in a department store purse in Evanston, IL, she is eager to help. This unusual discovery resonates strongly with Clara, since she and her parents are grieving for her slightly older adopted Chinese sister, Lola, who died of leukemia six weeks earlier. Though this plot device and the family's subsequent journey to China seem somewhat contrived, the story sheds unique light on the horrific plight of illegal child labor across the globe. Despite their being a world apart, both Clara and Yuming suffer from feelings of sadness and loss and are desperately driven to take action. The plot is quickly paced and told in alternating chapters from the points of view of both girls as they draw closer to each other—Clara, as she hears the voice of Lola telling her what to do, and Yuming, who endures harsh factory conditions and attempts a harrowing escape with other enslaved children. The title simultaneously refers to sweatshop conditions in the garment industry and the invisible ties that bind us to one another as humans.
VERDICT Based on a true incident, this is an engaging offering for readers who seek to broaden their global perspective. Especially good for teachers to use as a spark for classroom conversation.

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