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The Iron Dragon: The Courageous Story of Lee Chin (Historical Fiction Adventures

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Lee Chin arrives in America in 1866 to work on the transcontinental railroad. His cruel father is disappointed in him because he wants to be an artist. To make matters worse, Lee Chin’s father has sold his sister, Sunshine, into slavery in order to help pay for their passage to America. In a new land, Lee Chin must defy his father and earn the money to free his sister. Wha Lee Chin arrives in America in 1866 to work on the transcontinental railroad. His cruel father is disappointed in him because he wants to be an artist. To make matters worse, Lee Chin’s father has sold his sister, Sunshine, into slavery in order to help pay for their passage to America. In a new land, Lee Chin must defy his father and earn the money to free his sister. What does Lee Chin do to help his sister? Can he stand up to his father? Follow Lee Chin's courageous story during the construction of one of America’s first modern wonders—the transcontinental railroad.


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Lee Chin arrives in America in 1866 to work on the transcontinental railroad. His cruel father is disappointed in him because he wants to be an artist. To make matters worse, Lee Chin’s father has sold his sister, Sunshine, into slavery in order to help pay for their passage to America. In a new land, Lee Chin must defy his father and earn the money to free his sister. Wha Lee Chin arrives in America in 1866 to work on the transcontinental railroad. His cruel father is disappointed in him because he wants to be an artist. To make matters worse, Lee Chin’s father has sold his sister, Sunshine, into slavery in order to help pay for their passage to America. In a new land, Lee Chin must defy his father and earn the money to free his sister. What does Lee Chin do to help his sister? Can he stand up to his father? Follow Lee Chin's courageous story during the construction of one of America’s first modern wonders—the transcontinental railroad.

16 review for The Iron Dragon: The Courageous Story of Lee Chin (Historical Fiction Adventures

  1. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Mcavoy

    Courageous, twelve year-old Chin Lee travels from China with his father and cousin to earn money working on the transcontinental railroad. Dire economic circumstances have impelled Chin’s father to sell a younger sister, Sunshine, to raise the money for the passage so that they may earn enough in America to sustain their farm and family at home. Lee is an engaging character who overcomes adversity. The plot has exciting elements and is reminiscent of, and as realistic as, a Hardy Boy’s book or a Courageous, twelve year-old Chin Lee travels from China with his father and cousin to earn money working on the transcontinental railroad. Dire economic circumstances have impelled Chin’s father to sell a younger sister, Sunshine, to raise the money for the passage so that they may earn enough in America to sustain their farm and family at home. Lee is an engaging character who overcomes adversity. The plot has exciting elements and is reminiscent of, and as realistic as, a Hardy Boy’s book or a Horatio Alger story. The book acknowledges the anti-Chinese racism of the time and depicts the harsh working conditions of Chinese workers. There are several pages of history and suggestions for further reading at the end. Internet addresses are included for online research. However, the story’s message, that an open-heart and a can-do attitude will overcome obstacles and result in a paid internship with a photographer, a sister rescued from slavery and transported to Truckee CA, and a bright and independent future for both underage immigrants, strains credulity. Some readers may feel this is a suitable and age-appropriate adventure story that provides an introduction to an important period of local and national history. Other readers may object to a story that glosses over injustice and enthrones typically American virtues at the expense of adherence to Chinese tradition and culture.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Handan

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Historically accurate, and I probably would have read it as a kid, but not actively engaging as I'd hoped. There are so many elements spinning around (Lee Chin's family tensions, the constant change of working on the railroad, the convenience of Sam's son being the curly redhead boy) that it begins to feel a bit contrived. I'd still include it as an introductory text, especially to jump start a program exploring the railroad race and the influx and exploitation of immigrants during that time. Historically accurate, and I probably would have read it as a kid, but not actively engaging as I'd hoped. There are so many elements spinning around (Lee Chin's family tensions, the constant change of working on the railroad, the convenience of Sam's son being the curly redhead boy) that it begins to feel a bit contrived. I'd still include it as an introductory text, especially to jump start a program exploring the railroad race and the influx and exploitation of immigrants during that time.

  3. 4 out of 5

    MayorEmma

  4. 5 out of 5

    Pearl Rainey

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  6. 4 out of 5

    MaryCarol Phillips

  7. 4 out of 5

    morrisonfamily

  8. 5 out of 5

    Katt Hansen

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kms

  10. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dionne

  12. 4 out of 5

    Marcus

  13. 4 out of 5

    Magdy Soliman

  14. 5 out of 5

    Emmie

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ellie

  16. 4 out of 5

    Katie

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