The Happiness of Kati

by Jane Vejjajiva

Nine-year-old Kati lives with her grandparents in a small Thai village where the... read more

Nine-year-old Kati lives with her grandparents in a small Thai village where the rhythms of life are marked by the daily offerings to the monks before breakfast and school, and slow journeys in a paddleboat through the flooded rice fields. Then there is a phone call, and a trip by car to a beach house far away—the house where Kati’s mother is dying. Although Kati can hardly remember her mother she has always held her in her heart. Now, in their final days together, Kati’s mother tells stories that give Kati back bits of the past. Following her mother’s death, Kati is taken to the apartment in Bangkok where her mother had been living and working as an international attorney before falling ill with ALS. There, loving family and friends carry out the final, carefully laid plans that Kati’s mother had made, turning over boxes and boxes of memories to Kati. One of them holds the answer to the question Kati has never brought herself to ask: who is my father? Kati is an acute observer of all that goes on around her in Jane Vejjajiva’s spare, tender, dreamlike novel. And despite her loss, she is a child grounded in the certainty of love. (Ages 9–13)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2007

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