Acceptance - A French Vietnamese Girl in France
A young Vietnamese girl in French lives in two cultures, in this excerpt from Caroline Hatton's children's novel "Véro and Philippe"
Noisy steps echoed my racing heart. It was my first visit to a friend - and a French home - in Paris. The door opened to the greetings of Sylvie and her mother, Madame Joulié.
While the grownups shook hands, Sylvie and I kissed on both cheeks. Then she said, "Bonjour, Madame," and shook Francine's hand.
Francine squeezed the back of my neck, making my face blurt out, "Bonjour, Madame!" Then she pushed me foward and said, "I'll pick Véronique up at five."
After the door closed, I noticed a little boy wrapped around Madame Joulié's legs. He had brown hair like Sylvie's, and like hers, his eyes were pale gray like a winter dawn.
"That's Sébastien, my little brother," said Sylvie.
Her mother said, "Go play." Then she headed down the hallway, and to my great relief, Sylvie went the other way, followed by Sébastien and me.
"Are you from the Chinese restaurant?" he asked. "Is your home red and gold? Does it smell good like sweet and sour pork?"
Sylvie turned around and said, "She's not Chinese. She's Vietnamese, well, her parents are. Véro was born in France, just like you and me."
"So you're French," he said with a smile.
I nodded and smiled back. Then I caught up with Sylvie.
Excerpt from the children's novel Véro and Philippe by Caroline Hatton. Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Carus Publishing Company.
Caroline Hatton's first, humorous, multicultural novel, "Véro and Philippe," made the Los Angeles Times Children's Bestsellers list. The book is about sibling rivalry turning to teamwork between Vietnamese-French kids growing up in Paris.
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