Red Butterfly, A China-Inspired book by A.L. Sonnichsen

Written by Kay on . Posted in Book Recommendations, China-Inspired Book Recommendations

The Red Butterfly

by A.L. Sonnichsen


I’m sure you’ve heard the buzz about a new China-inspired book  that hit the market on February 3. If not, believe me, you will. And just so that you won’t be the only one left not knowing what it’s all about, go ahead and snag a copy! A poignant story beautifully written, I give it the official Kay Bratt recommendation. Here’s a bit more about The Red Butterfly by A.L. Sonnichsen.

Book Description: A young orphaned girl in modern-day China discovers the meaning of family in this inspiring story told in verse, in the tradition of Inside Out and Back Again and Sold. Kara never met her birth mother. Abandoned as an infant, she was taken in by an American woman living in China. Now eleven, Kara spends most of her time in their apartment, wondering why she and Mama cannot leave the city of Tianjin and go live with Daddy in Montana. Mama tells Kara to be content with what she has…but what if Kara secretly wants more?

Told in lyrical, moving verse, Red Butterfly is the story of a girl learning to trust her own voice, discovering that love and family are limitless, and finding the wings she needs to reach new heights. Age Level: 8 – 12 3 – 7   Available on Amazon (Here)


Behind the Story; the Chengguan in China and Bitter Winds

Written by Kay on . Posted in Book Recommendations, China-Inspired Book Recommendations

Over the years that we lived in China, I ran into my fair share of the chengguan, otherwise known as the street police. The Chengguan are a unique Chinese institution: something less than a police officer, but more powerful than an average person. These urban management officers are hired by municipal governments to carry out undesirable tasks  (Definition from TeaLeafNation article) My interaction with them was limited to seeing them coming through the various markets to harass store owners. When a uniform was spotted, a murmur would move through the lines of stalls and many would completely shut up shop as they passed through, rather than deal with their abuse.

With the ease of photos and the internet now, there are many new stories coming to light of abuse and even death caused by these chengguan, especially those whose power has gone to their heads. In 2013, a 56-year-old farmer named Deng Zhengjia brought his watermelons to a nearby city. When the chengguan confronted him about selling on the street, they took some of his watermelons and ordered him to move to an approved stall. He and his wife obeyed, but when the chengguan came around again, this time they took more than watermelons, they took his life. All because he dared to question their authority and begged them to leave him be. Fortunately, his wife was there and was able to be with him as he took his last breath.


Suspicously when his daughter took to Weibo, the Chinese twitter, about what happened to her father, her posts were soon deleted and replaced with a statement that the government had acted fairly in the situation. Censorship along with abuse and murder! When the people tried to get the chengguan to take responsibility by guarding the body for an autopsy, they were soon beaten down too.

Another instance of the chengguan acting inappropriately is when they rounded up all the beggars at a festival and put them in portable jail cells along the sidewalk.


The photos that accompanied the story are heart-breaking, and were the catalyst for Lily’s story in my novel, Bitter Winds. Lily is blind, and when she is mistakenly taken for a beggar, the chengguan interrupt her life. Her sister, Ivy, must find a way to free her from the grasp of corrupt officials. The two become desperate to each help the other, and the bonds of sisterhood cannot be broken as they work to be reunited.


Read more about Lily and Ivy and their fight for freedom in Bitter Winds, available here at Amazon.

Bitter Winds is now Available!

Written by Kay on . Posted in About Publishing, China-Inspired Book Recommendations


Now available [here] on Amazon, the third book of the Tales of the Scavenger’s Daughters series, Bitter Winds continues the saga of Chinese couple Benfu and Calli, and the abandoned young women in their care.

Since the night her sister was almost burned alive in a fire and they were taken from their mother, Ivy has been the self-appointed guardian and guide to her blind twin, Lily. When Lily is snatched away and put behind locked doors, Ivy will do whatever it takes to get her sister home, even it means putting her own life in danger.

After Benfu and Calli’s long-lost daughter, Li Jin, is finally reunited with her birth parents, she opens a shelter for displaced people, turning her fortune from destitution and abuse to family and fulfillment. But her friend Sami remains consumed by bitterness—and Li Jin soon realizes she needs to make a difficult choice between revisiting the past or nurturing her own future.  Buy now:

Amazon Reviews:

Not long ago life had me “too busy” to find time to read. Then, I read one of her books and her writing spoke to me, I can find time to read all the time now. This third book in the series is no different than the others, except perhaps better. This one is my favorite, but I say that after reading each one. I never believe a better book can be written, but then she does it. If you want to escape for a bit and be sucked in by a family, get some education on how things work in China and have real emotions — this series is for you!

Book Three is just as good as the first two in the Scavengers Daughters series (I hope there are more to come, so I won’t say Trilogy).  In each of the books we follow the story of one or two of the daughters of the Scavengers Daughters. Their triumphs, their tragedies, but always wih such amazing story telling, you don’t want to put the book down.

There is absolutely so much that is happening on each page! The story line is easy to follow and it doesn’t take long to be completely absorbed. Kay Bratt brings the characters to life by having their past experiences affect their personalities accordingly. She takes you deep into China’s cultures and neighborhoods and how the government affects their daily lives. This is one of those books where I didn’t want to come to the end. I would recommend you reading all the books in the Scavenger’s Daughter series.

Kay Bratt’s Red Skies! The Fourth book in the Tales of the Scavenger’s Daughters

Written by Kay on . Posted in Adoption Stories, Book Recommendations, China-Inspired Book Recommendations

Red Skies, the 4th novel set in the world of

The Tales of the Scavenger’s Daughters

 Download today and find out why so many readers have become invested in this family of daughters.

Download from here:

RedSkies-800 Cover reveal and Promotional

“I feel empty, as though I’m leaving behind a piece of myself.” As the daughter of the town scavenger, Mari grew up knowing hardship, but she could have never anticipated the struggles facing her as an adult. Feeling alone and isolated, she dreams of a better life. On the other side of town, a little girl is forced to live on the streets, but silently she longs for the one thing she’s never known–a family. Max, a struggling American photojournalist, arrives in China with only one goal in mind; to face his demons and put an end to his own unbearable suffering. In Red Skies, the fate of three people who’ve never met will converge in profound and unexpected ways.

From the bestselling author of ‘A Thread Unbroken’ comes a fresh glimpse into the life of Benfu’s remarkable family.  Be swept up in this emotional yet hope filled story of Red Skies, set in the world of Kay Bratt’s ‘Tales of The Scavenger’s Daughters’.

*Red Skies is the 4th novel to the series but can be enjoyed first, last, or in between the other books. It can stand alone or be read as part of the series. So dig in at any time! Download from here:

New Release! Red Skies, set in the world of the Tales of the Scavenger’s Daughters

Written by Kay on . Posted in Book Recommendations, China-Inspired Book Recommendations

RedSkies-800 Cover reveal and Promotional

Red Skies by Kay Bratt

A companion novel set in the world of The Tales of the Scavenger’s Daughters

“I feel empty, as though I’m leaving behind a piece of myself.” As the daughter of the town scavenger, Mari grew up knowing hardship, but she could have never anticipated the struggles facing her as an adult. Feeling alone and isolated, she dreams of a better life. On the other side of town, a little girl is forced to live on the streets, but silently she longs for the one thing she’s never known–a family. Max, a struggling American photojournalist, arrives in China with only one goal in mind; to face his demons and put an end to his own unbearable suffering. In Red Skies, the fate of three people who’ve never met will converge in profound and unexpected ways.

From the bestselling author of ‘A Thread Unbroken’ comes a fresh glimpse into the life of Benfu’s remarkable family. Be swept up in this emotional yet hope filled story of Red Skies, set in the world of Kay Bratt’s ‘Tales of The Scavenger’s Daughters’.

*Red Skies is a companion novel to the series and can be enjoyed first, last, or in between the other books. It can stand alone or be read as part of the series. So dig in at any time! /352 pages


Amazon Reviewer Lee says: Red Skies is another remarkable book about the daughters of Benfu. Having already read “The Scavenger’s Daughters” and “Tangled Vines” and being captivated by their beautiful stories, I was eagerly anticipating what “Red Skies” would have to offer and I most certainly was not disappointed.

One of the most endearing qualities of Kay Bratt’s books is that she makes you care so very much about her characters and instead of just being a reader, you become a participant and cheerleader in their lives! This beautiful story has three main characters whose stories are told separately but as you read them you know that they are going to converge and the anticipation keeps you turning page after page! Kay’s books are hard to put down once you have started them because she draws you in a holds you on each word. Having read Kay’s other books I already knew a little bit about Mari (Marigold) but even without knowing her back story completely this book is SO worth reading. This book, like the others, will make you feel like you are in China and will break your heart when you realize it is written about China today.

You. Must. Read. This. Book. Three Souls by Janie Chang

Written by Kay on . Posted in Book Recommendations, China-Inspired Book Recommendations

Steeped in the tenacious traditions and rich culture of China, Three Souls by Janie Chang is a book that will captivate and keep you up at night to turn the pages. Packed with intrigue and emotional upheaval, I especially loved the way Song Leiyen, the main character, only gradually worked her way into my good graces until I found myself thinking of her each time I walked away from the story. Mark my words, this book is going to be a best seller!

Already one of my favorite books of the year!

Three Souls

Available on Amazon (Here)

Want to be on Kay’s Review Krew?

Written by Kay on . Posted in China-Inspired Book Recommendations, Contests and Give-A-Ways


I’m recruiting members for Kay’s Review Krew to receive ARCs  (Advanced Readers Copies) of Tangled Vines, the 2nd book in The Tales of The Scavenger’s Daughters!


And let me tell you, members of Kay’s Review Krew get a few perks. First, they get to read my books before they are available to the public. Second, they are eligible for prizes. Once the first three books in the Tales of the Scavenger’s Daughters are out, members of the Review Krew who have read and posted a review for all three books will have their names in the drawing for some small prizes. I’ll give away several key chains….and a few bookmarks….so we’ll see!

making mini book charms key ring kay bratt 006making mini book charms  bratt 008


So, to be on Kay’s Review Krew, these are the guidelines:

1. You have read and posted a review on Amazon or GoodReads for book one in the series, The Scavenger’s Daughters

2. You agree to read and review the second book, Tangled Vines, and post a review in the week of the launch around December 10.

[[..and a plug about the book on December 10 to help my launch will earn you extra brownie points!]]

That’s it! Simple, yeah?

So if you can meet the two guidelines above and want to be on the Krew, let me know by either sending me a pm on Facebook (here) or by using the contact me tab on my website (here) and let me know you want to be on the KRK and what name you reviewed the first book under so I can double-check!

IMPORTANT: I only have so many slots and available books. So there will be a cut off. For book one, I met the quote for recipients within a few days.

Also, I’ll need to know if you prefer a Kindle version or print. And Riley says to hurry up already….

Riley_Tangled Vines

The Life of a Scavenger

Written by Kay on . Posted in China-Inspired Book Recommendations


Photograph by Julian Li

The life of a scavenger and their family is a rough one. In China, migrant workers come from poor cities and villages to places they hope to be able to make a living, but at times are subjected to scrounging through landfills and other horrible places for anything they can salvage.

In my new series, The Tales of the Scavenger’s Daughters, you will see a man who has chosen his way of life because it is preferable to the one he came from that would allow him to lose his morals and beliefs. He proves to himself and his daughters that there can be pride in everything you do, and what you do doesn’t define you as a person.  Through a life of giving and compassion, he teaches by being an example of pure selflessness.


Available now on Amazon at this link.

Here is an excerpt:

Benfu pedaled on and finally made it to the outskirts of town. Ahead of him he could see the line of blue trucks, waiting their turns to dump their loads. He thought being a Sunday it might be a quiet day at the landfill, but already he could see other collectors with arms looped through the handles of baskets on their backs, searching through the piles. Others poked at the trash with pitchforks, and tossed empty cans, jars and paper into bags set around their feet.

Benfu shook his head at the scene before him. “Aiya…” he mumbled. He had gone from heaven to hell in an instant.

He had not been there in years and had no idea the site had grown to such proportions. He shook his head. There was a time that the piece of land held acres of bountiful crops tended by him and others—though most of what they reaped was trucked to Shanghai to feed Mao’s officials and troops. While they worked the land the cadres had watched over them to ensure nothing would be stolen, looking past their haggard faces and skeletal frames to pretend they didn’t realize how hungry the people were for fresh vegetables. And when the rice coupons were no longer valuable because all the rice had run out, there were many days Benfu had survived off of only one stolen potato cooked and split between at least half dozen others. And that was on a good day—a day they weren’t subsisting on grass and plants cooked like a stew. But that was before the people in his collective had turned on him. The memories came pouring back and Benfu felt the old rage surge up inside. He looked over the heaps of trash to the place where the tiny outhouse once stood and he remembered the beatings and the isolation. All because of who he had been born to. People who had claimed to be his friends, even his new family! They’d turned on him like a lynch mob because of his bad family background.

Towards the end of the revolution, the crops had eventually shriveled to nothing and were abandoned, and the land was used for the people in the outskirts of town as a landfill. Obviously they were now getting all of their village trash, as well as the Wuxi city trash transported there. The dump was huge, appearing to go on for miles with tall mounds of rubbish every few feet. Not only were the piles an unseemly sight, but the smell that hit him was worse than putrid. All around mountains of waste sat decomposing, much of it consisting of unrecognizable items from a distance.

Like shadows against the hazy landscape, Benfu could see children following along behind their parents, mostly migrant families joining in the task of searching for salvageable items among the tons of trash. He felt a wave of pity for the kids who were forced to live such a life but also felt relief that thus far he had never had to resort to recruiting his own daughters to such a place. In his opinion, other than the mines, there couldn’t be a worse situation to make a child work than in the horrid landfills.

He paused to pull his handkerchief from his pocket and tied it around his face, then pedaled his bike to a place away from the line of trucks—he didn’t want to lose his only transportation to a careless truck driver.

Pulling his own basket from the cart on the back of his bike, Benfu struggled to work his arms through the handles and balance the basket on his back. He took his trash stick from the cart and made his way closer to the site. He looked around and choosing a huge pile of junk, began to look for anything he could use to make a yuan. He shook his head at the evidence of the new generation of disposable items. Microwave food boxes, instant noodle bowls, wooden chopsticks, paper slippers—so much trash made from the desire to move ever faster in the modern world. He wished again for the older, slower pace of life where less was more. At least in his home they hadn’t felt the pull to succumb to—or keep up with—the new ways.

As he searched the littered ground below, he swatted at the hundreds of mosquitos that swarmed around him. He had only stabbed a few soiled newspapers and dropped them into his basket when he had to stop and straighten himself, the gases from the piles of waste making him more than a little dizzy.

An hour later, besides a few soiled papers, Benfu had only been lucky enough to find a dozen or so plastic bottles and a few cardboard boxes. Each time he spotted something more valuable and began toward it, another collector would beat him and snatch it right out from under him. He was really disappointed when he saw the remains of a computer and a petite woman beat him to it. Though years younger than he, the others had no mercy for his age and didn’t give him a second glance as they competed for each scrap. The combination of being away from his usual route through his beloved town, and missing the interaction with familiar neighbors, he conceded that the depressing atmosphere of the landfill slowed him down more than usual. He felt as if he were wading through water in slow motion.

Even so, he pushed on but eventually stopped his hunting when he was interrupted to bandage the cut foot of one of the migrant children. The child, just a toddler, had stepped on a shard of glass and sat crying and holding his bloody foot as his preoccupied mother ignored him. Benfu made his way over the hill of trash between them and comforted the boy. He took the handkerchief from his face and after using his only bottle of water to clean the wound, he wrapped the child’s foot and made him promise to stay in a safer area until he healed. His mother didn’t even stop her collecting to thank him, but he didn’t blame her. It was people like her family who if they didn’t find anything that very day—they just wouldn’t have the money to eat. Theirs was a desperate situation and his wasn’t. Not yet anyway.

Benfu walked toward his bicycle, his shoulders hunched as he coughed violently from the assault on his senses. His chest hurt terribly and he grasped it with one hand, willing it to behave. Unable to continue without his handkerchief to filter the stench, he decided to call it a day and come back later in the week.

Through watering eyes, he looked around at the rest of the people still fighting to gain a closer spot to the latest load dumped by a truck and his heart felt heavy. It was a shame that some of China’s people were so desperately poor, especially when it was well known that anyone working for the government lived posh lives full of benefits. All of his adult life he’d hoped he would see major changes and reform that would unite the people. He hoped the government would step in and set up welfare systems. They had barely done anything about the problem in all his years; what was done was all fluff and propaganda. In China, the poor were like dung on the bottom of the rich man’s shoe.

He shook his head in disgust. Benfu had survived the atrocities of the so-called Cultural Revolution only to see even more of a gap between the rich and poor, instead of the classless society Mao had aimed for during his reign. Benfu was thankful that Mao had backed down and called a cease to the revolution when his prospective rival, Liu Shao-chi was expelled from the party back in the late sixties. Even though the Chaos—as most of the locals tended to call the Revolution—lasted at least ten years, things finally settled down and they’d begun the long road to recovery. With that, Calli and her family had struggled to regain the hope and sense of security that had been so callously snatched from them. And Benfu still didn’t regret his choice to stay by their side. They’d been loyal to him and nursed him back to health—even given him refuge during his darkest moments. How could he possibly abandon them? His parents hadn’t been happy, to say the least, but he’d chosen to remain with his new family rather than return to the life he’d known before the nightmare had begun.

With another look at the people on the hills rummaging through piles of stench, Benfu marveled that only a few miles away people were living in new high rise apartments with luxuries such as those he’d never seen and probably never would. It proved that despite it all, there was still a huge gap between classes. He wondered if Mao was pleased looking down from his place in the afterworld. His legacy of hardship may have been interrupted, but it still refused to be broken.   

READ MORE of The Scavenger’s Daughter by downloading the book here.

Introducing Kay Bratt’s…The Scavenger’s Daughters! (With a Sneak Peek!)

Written by Kay on . Posted in A Bratt's Life, Adoption Stories, China-Inspired Book Recommendations, Short Story


*Confetti! Confetti!*

So for the last year I have been writing, editing, tweaking, sweating, dreaming, writing, editing, tweaking some more….and finally I can introduce to you the fruits of my efforts (and those of the team behind me).

I do hope you will be in love with this family as much as I am.

The Tales of the Scavenger’s Daughters

Having survived torture and imprisonment during China’s Cultural Revolution, Benfu escaped to find love with his compassionate and beautiful Calla Lily. Together they build a fulfilling life around the most menial of jobs—Benfu’s work collecting trash. As he sorts through the discards of others, he regularly discovers abandoned children. With unwavering determination, he and Calli spend decades creating a family of hand-picked daughters that help heal the sorrow and brighten their modest home. But all is not perfect and when crisis threatens to separate their family, Benfu—or possibly his band of headstrong daughters—must find a way to overcome the biggest hardship yet.

Inspired by a true story, and set against the backdrop of a country in transition, The Scavenger’s Daughters is a sweeping present day saga of triumph in the face of hardship, and the unbreakable bonds of family against all odds.


The Scavenger’s Daughters is Available for pre-order NOW at Amazon!

And…..Coming in December 2013…

 Book Two in the Tales of The Scavenger’s Daughters,


Scroll down for a Sneak Peek of The Scavenger’s Daughters:

Chapter One

Beitang City, Wuxi, China, 2010.

On a cloudy day in early January, Benfu stood outside his house and held the red pail under the spigot, waiting for it to fill. Today was a good day; when he pumped the handle the old pipes didn’t moan and rattle too much before deciding to cooperate. But he didn’t mind it so much either way—like him, the piece of iron was ancient but stubbornly kept going. And anyway, they had a history together and if a man could feel affection for a thing, then Benfu absolutely did. A silly fondness, but there all the same, for it was the very same temperamental water spigot that had been the matchmaker that brought him and his precious Calli together so many years before.

When the water reached the top, he pushed the pump handle down and carried the pail across the street to the old widow’s house. Quickly he filled the tins for her chickens and used the last of the water on her pot of herbs hanging in her window box. He looked at the chicken droppings and considered cleaning it up, but that was a task Widow Zu usually took on and he didn’t want to deprive her of that joy. And anyway, nothing was worse than the smell of chicken dung on a man’s hands.

Chuckling, he returned to his yard across the street, got on his bike and headed out for the day. Twenty minutes later, he pushed his rusted three-wheeled bicycle slowly up the steep hill and turned the corner. Around him the streets were coming alive. Morning vendors were opening their stalls and stacking displays of fruits and vegetables, sweepers cleaned the sidewalks, and early commuters bustled to work. As he strained to push the bike, the cars, electric scooters and other bicycles rushed past him. Most paid him no attention, for he was just one of many laborers out at the crack of dawn trying to get an early start to the day. With his weathered brown face and deep wrinkles he blended in, but unlike some of the men his age he passed who were doing their morning Qigong exercises or sitting at makeshift tables’ playing cards, Benfu still had a job to do. Even though he had lived on earth for over six decades, he could not retire.

He struggled the last few feet, listening to his water canteen bumping against the metal bar it was tied to and thought about how much the city had changed over the years. At least his side of Beitang City—Old Town Wuxi as some called it—still kept some of the old charm, while new Wuxi had grown with businesses and even many foreigners coming in to make their mark. Benfu was a transplant—he’d been sent to Wuxi as a teenager by his parents to escape the danger of Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution. It was for his protection, they’d told him as they cried and bid him goodbye. What they had thought would be a better life for him was a time of trauma and hardship. And though he’d never intended to stay for so long, fate had intervened and Wuxi had become his home. But that was long ago and he’d survived many more hard times since then. Times that were better left unspoken of, times that made a day like today feel like child’s play.

At the top of the hill, Benfu mounted the bike again and with shoulders bent over the handlebars to add more weight, he pedaled slowly. He was already tired and that irritated him. He’d always been known to be bigger and stronger than most, but for the last year he just couldn’t shake the cough and heavy feeling that had enveloped him. Passing the line of street breakfast stands, he winced at the sudden squeaking from the rusty back wheel of his bicycle. As it began to bump and turn haphazardly, he hoped it would last the day, at least until he could ask his daughter to take a look to see if she could repair it.  If she could, that would save him some valuable coins that he could avoid paying the local repairman. He was lucky to have the transportation, and the three-wheeled bike was fitted with a makeshift cart on the back, allowing him a way to haul things home without carrying them in a basket on his back as he’d done for years before.

Benfu passed the cigarette store and for a moment he fought the sudden craving that overtook his thoughts. His wife had finally got her way when he’d stopped smoking a few years before, but there were days he could almost taste the sweet tobacco, he wanted it so badly. A welcome distraction, he heard his friend call his name from where she perched on the next front stoop, peeling peanuts.  His mouth watered at the sight of the treats in her bowl. He would have liked to be able to bring some peanuts home to add to their own simple dinner. Occasionally the woman saved a small bag behind her to hand over to him, but not today. He had many friends in the neighborhood and one had even complimented him long ago by telling him he was a big man with an even bigger presence. He didn’t quite know how he had a big presence but it had sounded nice. Always known to be soft-spoken and one to choose his words wisely, when he had something to say others usually listened.

Zao, Benfu. Cold day, eh?”

Benfu raised his hand to the woman and smiled. “Good morning to you, too, Lao Gu. Yes, very cold. But don’t worry, spring is coming soon!”

These days he was so used to being cold that he no longer thought much about it. At least there hadn’t been any snow this season—saving him the trouble of carrying his load when he couldn’t get the cart through. Sure his cough was worse in the cold, his old joints ached, and his gnarled hands cramped from the hours spent wrapped around the handles, but instead of dwelling on it he chose to focus on other matters. Matters like finding enough discarded items to earn enough for a day of meals for his family and if he was lucky—enough to put some savings toward their monthly rent bill. But first, his self-imposed obligation needed to be fulfilled for the day.

Zhu ni haoyun, Benfu.” She wished him luck and went back to peeling. No small talk was needed because there wasn’t anything new to discuss. They’d been passing each other for the last fifteen years and only stopped to catch up every month or so, unless either of them had news worth interrupting their chores. The woman was widowed and Benfu had known her husband back in the hard days. But those were times they didn’t talk about.

Benfu continued with his cart and hoped his morning would be uneventful. He didn’t wish to find anything out of the ordinary as he turned past the block of buildings. He really didn’t. He always wished to find nothing except trash. But sometimes something other than trash found him.

Now in the alley between two buildings, he guided his bike around soiled refuse bags and a line of jumbled bicycles, then heard the first mewl coming from a pile of boxes. He hoped it was nothing but a new kitten, strayed from its mother.  That would be the best scenario, for Benfu could help it find the rest of the litter and then go on with his day as usual. But the closer he got to the huge pile of trash, the more that hope faded. He’d heard this same sound before and he scolded himself that he should have known the difference from the start.

Sighing, he stopped the bicycle and climbed down. He walked over to the pile of cardboard boxes. Lifting them carefully and tossing them aside one by one, he dug down until he finally found the right one. As he paused to look at the labeling on the side of the cardboard, a couple at the end of the alley stopped and pointed at him, then moved along.

Gently he picked up the box and carried it to his cart. He carefully set it on top of the pile of trash he had collected on the way over. Opening the two flaps, he peered into the box and immediately connected with tiny dark eyes.

Aiya,” he muttered softly, so as not to scare her. The baby was very young—maybe only a few hours or possibly a few days. She lay in the box fully unclothed save for a scrap of a red shirt with frog ties and a few balled up newspapers scattered around her.  Benfu wrinkled his nose as the smell of urine wafted up from the soaked box.  He noticed her umbilical cord still hung from her tiny button, already turning dark from the lack of sustenance running through it. From the weak sound of her mewling and the mottled color of her skin, she didn’t have much time left.

Faster than most would think an old man could move, Benfu struggled out of his worn red overcoat and laid it on the ground in front of him. He then lifted the infant and set her on top of it. As he knelt down to wrap the material around her, he ignored the throbbing in his knees and rubbed her tiny feet and hands. He counted under his breath as he quickly massaged each petite toe and finger. While working to get the blood running in her body again, his eyes met hers and held.

With the surprise of being suddenly discovered, she had quieted and serenely stared up at Benfu, her dark eyes twinkling at him. She was beautiful, this one was, and he wondered what sort of ailment she might have that would have prompted her parents to relinquish her to a new fate.

“Hello, nuer. I’ve come to take you home.  Just hold on and we’ll get you all fixed up. And we’ll add one more scavenger’s daughter to the world, yes we will.” He wrapped the coat all around her, making sure to double the sleeves around her icy feet. He gently laid her back in the box and after checking to make sure he had made a sufficient tunnel through the material for her to breathe through, he closed the flaps again.  Looking around, he hoped the remaining cardboard would be there when he returned, but for now he needed to hurry.

Turning the bicycle around he shivered from the sudden gust of wind that blew through his clothing. He climbed aboard and slowly began to pedal, willing the stiffness in his knees away. As he picked up the pace and began his journey home, he sighed and looked over his shoulder again at the box his newest treasure was nested in. He ignored the nervous fluttering in his stomach that reminded him how hard it would be to feed one more hungry mouth, and instead gave thanks to the Gods that he had found the baby girl before it was too late.

For those who love to read China-Inspired Books

Written by Kay on . Posted in China-Inspired Book Recommendations


To give us a place to gather and post what China-Inspired books we love, and offer recommendations for what to read next, we’ve set up a Facebook page.

Click this link ‘China Inspired Books’ to see what others are reading and recommending.

You’ll find some old favorites or some new ones you may have never heard of.

Happy Reading!

Xie xie ni!