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3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  229 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
Robin, a promising young ballet student, cannot afford to continue lessons when her Chinese grandmother emigrates from Hong Kong, creating jealousy and conflict among the entire family.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published October 13th 1997 by Puffin Books (first published 1996)
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Kira-Kira by Cynthia KadohataGirl in Translation by Jean KwokAmerican Born Chinese by Gene Luen YangA Step from Heaven by An NaBorn Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier
Best Asian-American Teen Fiction
44th out of 144 books — 223 voters
Bunheads by Sophie FlackDancing on My Grave by Gelsey KirklandLife in Motion by Misty CopelandThe Cranes Dance by Meg HowreyBallet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
Best Ballet Books Ever!
49th out of 81 books — 63 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 423)
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Hannah Lee
Feb 13, 2014 Hannah Lee rated it liked it
I really liked Ribbons by Laurence Yep. I'm a ballet dancer, so I was immediately drawn to it. I think that one of the reasons I likes this book so much is that I can relate to it. Robbin's passion for dance in the book made me cry, and her perseverance to continue dancing was so touching. I really like the way her grandmother and Robbin grew together in the last part if the book. In the beginning, the were total strangers, and at the end they were fighting for each others beliefs. I really like ...more
Feb 27, 2012 Shauna rated it it was amazing
Since I am a ballet dancer, I was immediately drawn to this book. The main character is an Asian American ballet dancer named Robin. Robin's grandmother moves in with them, and they no longer have money to pay for tuition. This causes Robin to resent her grandmother, and she has a very hard time relating to her. Her grandmother does not want her to do ballet, and this upsets Robin.
Her grandmother finally tells her that she does not want her to do ballet because she cannot bear to see her hurt h
Nov 13, 2010 Rei rated it liked it
Ribbons was another great book, Robin the main character does not want to give up her dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer but her parents cannot afford to pay anymore because of her grandmother. One of the themes that occurred in this book was understanding one another. I can personally relate to Robin because I know that once you start doing something you love to do, you never want to stop and give up. You want to keep on going to reach your goal. Robin suffered a lot throughout this ...more
I loved this as a child. The heroine, Robin, is forced to give up her beloved ballet lessons when her grandmother moves in with her family; from initial resentment and anger, though, she and her grandmother start to understand one another. There's something about the emotions that the heroine goes through that Yep captures terribly well. As a nine- or ten-year-old, I sympathized intensely with her at all turns; this was one of the few works of 'realistic fiction' that I really liked at that age. ...more
Nov 23, 2015 Bambii rated it did not like it
I was assigned to read this book for school, middle school. It was absolutely dreadful and meaningless. This book tormented me in everywhere and couldn't give me the benefit of the doubt. I think books should expand your knowledge and teach you a lesson but his book just needs to evaporate.
Dec 16, 2014 Michelle rated it liked it
Shelves: multi-cultural
Ribbons follows Robin, an aspiring ballerina who must give up ballet school to help her family pay for her grandmother's immigration fees. Yep uses ballet as a way to teach Robin about sacrifices in the name of family and also Chinese history in the revelation of her grandmother's secret.
Nov 13, 2010 Christina rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Me
Recommended to Christina by: Me
I wanted to like this book. After reading "Spring Pearl" I loved Laurence Yep's writing. Then I found this book. Since I saw it was about ballet, which I have taken and interest to, I thought I'd like it. Well, I didn't not like it, but I came to the conlusion it was kind of a waste of my time, since 85% of the time in the book was spent with Robin feeling sorry for herself and hating her grandmother and brother. Another 15% was over-obsession on ballet. Not that that's bad, there was just a lit ...more
Anna Trotter
Mar 07, 2015 Anna Trotter rated it really liked it
This was a great book. It really opened my eyes to the life of girls who dream of being ballerinas and the hardships of Chinese Americans. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a different type of story with "real" characters and real situations.
Jan 17, 2015 This rated it really liked it
I don't remember much about this book, other than it changed my entire worldview on how other cultures view/treat dance and the relationship between ballet/pointe and the foot binding practices in ancient China.
Eva Nieves
Oct 29, 2015 Eva Nieves rated it it was amazing
Read this for my english class. Great story, I liked it and had a good ending. it focuses on culture and family.
Jan 25, 2014 Emma rated it liked it
I read this book with my literature class and when I looked at it I said "Great. A boring book." Boy, was I wrong!

All Im going to say is that this book is VERY inspiring.
Nov 21, 2013 Abra rated it it was amazing
I've read this before (and the related books, The Cook's Family and The Amah) and I love anything at all by Laurence Yep -- but I reread it just now because it's excerpted in the Prentice-Hall Literature textbook my district uses. I wanted to see where the excerpt fell in the book, but in fact, the "excerpt" is more of a condensed version of the core of the whole book. Very interesting, how they did that.
Dec 03, 2013 Josephine rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-book
Laurence Yep's books as a group do give mainstream culture an idea of what being Chinese-American means; in the case of this book, I was particularly struck by the grandmother's horror at seeing her granddaughter in toe shoes, now grown too small for her as her parents can't afford new pointe shoes much less lessons. I can well see that it would affect a woman who'd had her own feet forcibly bound thus.
Aug 05, 2008 MissMartin rated it liked it
Realistic fiction set in San Francisco. Robin Lee is a promising ballerina, whose passion is dancing. When her family helps Robin's grandmother come over from Hong Kong, Robin must give up her dance lessons to help her family defray the costs. Robin and her grandmother have trouble understanding each other at first, until Robin discovers her grandmother's painful secret.
Abby Lizotte
I am a ballet dancer like the main character in this book. I was drawn to this book because of the cover and it was very pretty. So Robin the main character is an Asian ballet dancer at her dance school. Her grandmother has to move in with her and that causes her to not be able to pay for her ballet lessons.
Aug 24, 2009 Jenna rated it it was amazing
If you like ballet this is a book for you! I story about a girl and her grandmother from China that don't have the best connection with eachother, but when fate brings them together they have to try to get along with eachother while she is fighting for her dream of taking ballet classes again.
Jul 03, 2009 Audrey rated it liked it
Shelves: ballet
I like this book. It was really good in the end, and just good in the beginning and middle. I think it wasn't a book that I would read over and over again, but i would recommend it. but i think that only people who do ballet can appriciate this book.
May 07, 2011 Amanda rated it it was amazing
This is a young-adult book. I read it when I was in 10th grade and loved it. My English teacher at the time recommended it to me as one of her favorites. It's a lovely read.
Aug 26, 2008 Elizabeth rated it it was ok
Shelves: laurence-yep
There were some funny parts in it, but over all a little bit...boring or something. It was actually pretty good, just not something that I'll read over and over again.
Dec 10, 2008 Megan rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books from way back when. It always makes me wish I had been more serious about ballet.
Mike The Pirate
Jul 30, 2013 Mike The Pirate rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
First Read- August 2008
Second Read July 2013
Jul 04, 2010 Christine rated it really liked it
Related to ballet, <3 it
Pooja Dimba
Apr 04, 2010 Pooja Dimba rated it it was amazing
This was a lovely book!
BookDB marked it as to-read
Aug 27, 2016
Abul Hussain
Abul Hussain marked it as to-read
Aug 26, 2016
Kellys rated it really liked it
Aug 25, 2016
Marissa Kubo
Marissa Kubo marked it as to-read
Aug 19, 2016
Jenny marked it as to-read
Aug 06, 2016
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Born June 14, 1948 in San Francisco, California, Yep was the son of Thomas Gim Yep and Franche Lee Yep. Franche Lee, her family's youngest child, was born in Ohio and raised in West Virginia where her family owned a Chinese laundry. Yep's father, Thomas, was born in China and came to America at the age of ten where he lived, not in Chinatown, but with an Irish friend in a white neighborhood. After ...more
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