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Book Review: The Great Call of China by Cynthea Liu

The best in children’s literature, selected by Jim Whiting.

Cynthea Liu

Cynthea Liu spent most of her formative years in Oklahoma and Texas where she was a member of the Whiz Quiz team, an academic decathlon-er, and a spelling bee champion. Yes, she was very popular. After attending college on the East Coast, she worked at a corporate job where she mastered PowerPoint and racked up thousands frequent flyer miles. Eventually, she traded in her suit for sweats to focus on the fun stuff-writing for children.

Cynthea is also the author of PARIS PAN TAKES THE DARE (Putnam, 06/09) and WRITING FOR CHILDREN AND TEENS: A CRASH COURSE (Pivotal, 1/08). She is the Children’s Book Writing Expert for bizymoms.com, and founder of AuthorsNow!, – a website featuring the latest books from new children’s and teen book authors. Please see www.authorsnow.com

THE GREAT CALL OF CHINA, a novel for ages 12+, is a clean read for teenagers that will excite them about broadening their horizons through traveling the world. Also THE GREAT CALL features an adopted Chinese teen, one of the first fiction books for young adults that reflects the diversity within our adoptive families today (press release: https://www.cynthealiu.com/bio). THE GREAT CALL is a perfect buy for grandparents who’d like to share their love for travel with their grandchildren, encourage teen interest in education through study abroad, and believe young people should be more more exposed to cultural and family diversity in our country and overseas.

By the way, did I mention there’s no sex, drugs, vampires, or heavy alcohol use in this novel? (These days, that’s rare in contemporary teen lit.)


Speak, a Penguin Group imprint

Ages 12+


Contemporary Fiction

246 pp.

USA: $7.99

See the movie at https://www.cynthealiu.com/books/movies


In THE GREAT CALL OF CHINA, a novel for Speak’s bestselling S.A.S.S (Students Across the Seven Seas) series, Chinese-born Cece was adopted when she was two years old by her American parents. Living in Texas, she’s bored of her ho-hum high school and dull job. So when she learns about the S.A.S.S. program to Xi’an, China, she jumps at the chance. She’ll be able to learn about her passion-anthropology-and it will give her the opportunity to explore her roots.

But when she arrives, she receives quite a culture shock. And the closer she comes to finding out about her birth parents, the more apprehensive she gets. Enter Will, the cute guy she first meets on the plane. He and Cece really connect during the program. But can he help her get accustomed to a culture she should already know about, or will she leave China without the answers she’s been looking for

PARIS PAN TAKES THE DARE. On sale June 11, 2009 (Putnam) Ages 10+. Everyone who’s anyone takes the Dare….


For more information about Jim, please see www.jimwhiting.com. To inquire about availability of specific titles or to send a comment, write him at jimruns3@gmail.com.

Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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