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Circle of Cranes

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  87 ratings  ·  21 reviews
A lyrical fantasy blending fairy tale elements with contemporary issues

Thirteen-year-old Suyin is a poor orphan who has a strange gift with languages and a mysterious connection to the cranes in her small Chinese village. When a shady human trafficker arrives promising luxury and riches beyond belief in America, the villagers elect Suyin - whom they consider lucky - to g
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published April 12th 2012 by Dial Books
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3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  87 ratings  ·  21 reviews

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Mar 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
If you were to judge this novel by it’s cover, you would perhaps peg it as a light story, involving some retelling of a fairy tale. Something pretty that can be read, put away and out of your mind as you move on to other books. You would be wrong because a Circle of Cranes is definitely more substantial than the majority of its counterparts. It deals with a folktale that is not commonly known in North America – at least I didn’t know it – and the protagonist is not a first world citizen confiden ...more
Jun 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, fantasy
My very first goodreads first reads giveaway book!

I'm very excited to read this book! I absolutely adore fairy tales re-told, especially asian folktales.

Will rate and post a real review once I receive the book! yay =)


I'm back and ready to review. What a coincidence - I recently saw the trailer for the movie "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" (which is based on the book Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. It's the story of two women who form a life-long sister bond and share messa
Nicole Skutelnik
Apr 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is extremely well researched, and is a big eye-opener when it comes to the sweatshops in New York's Chinatown. I know the author personally and I am very impressed with the book. Even though it's targeted at a middle grade readership, it has a fable-like quality that makes it appeal to readers of all ages.
Carro Herdegen
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kiss-the-book
Language - G, Sexual Content - PG; Violence - PG
Suyin is the black sheep in her village because of her unusual past, lack of embroidery skills, and her tendency to talk with cranes. Being so different and feeling so unloved, Suyin feels like the village is getting rid of her when she is chosen to go to America for a job. On her adventure as an illegal immigrant, Suyin learns about friendship, bravery, and her past in order to make her the girl she's destined to become.
I wasn't all that excited a
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book because I learned about a different culture and got an inside look at human trafficking. I also got to learn a lot about cranes, China, and embroidery. It was a many layered book about friendship, greed and community. Great work Annette!
Bonnie (A Backwards Story)
CIRCLE OF CRANES is based on an old Asian folktale you may have never heard of, The Crane Wife. While the most well-known version of the tale is Japanese, there are various renditions of the tale in other Asian cultures as well. Annette LeBox reveals the tale as she writes for anyone unfamiliar with the story and weaves lore of women who can turn into cranes into a sophisticated story full of truth as it reveals the grit and crime of the world's underbelly. I'll admit that for most of the time I ...more
Mar 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Circle of Cranes is a beautifully written mix of fable and historical fiction. The author’s expressive style draws you in as you begin to learn more about Suyin and her life story, interwoven with a retelling of the classic story of the Crane Wife. .

The author has created a wonderful blend of ancient legend with modern day illegal immigration, connecting the horrors of life in the sweatshops with the beauty of the natural world inhabited by the cranes. There is a gentle introduction to and great
Mar 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childhood
Suyin is an extraordinary girl. She is an orphan living on the charity of others in her village but she has amazing luck. The villagers appreciate her talents and as a result pool their resources so she can become their benefactress in Gold Mountain (America). Suyin travels in a migrant ship, surviving horrific experiences and arrives in America to be seamstress in a New York sweatshop.

When I began reading Circle of Cranes I assumed this was taking place in the past. Early 20th century at least.
Apr 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
I had gotten Circle of Cranes from a Goodreads giveaway and it's one of the best giveaway I've ever gotten.

This book is set in the times when it was popular (because the American laws hadn't gotten around this problem yet) for illegal Chinese migrants were smuggled into America by snakeheads, who promised gold and fortune but did not deliver.

Despite the heavy issues, such as death and betrayal, the book is lighthearted enough to not let the readers go too deep in the darkness of that time period
Jun 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
Circle of Cranes offers readers an intense and unique story, focusing on Suyin as she enters the world of Chinatown’s sweatshops, where everyone knows the law is being broken but only a few have the courage to speak out. The reality is bleak and very harsh, but Suyin and her friends manage to bring a ray of home to both their own situations and the book with their perseverance and love for each other and their families.

Ironically, the sweatshops are the good part of the book. The story here is i
Regina Peters
Jan 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An ancient Chinese myth. Labour politics in 21st-century New York. You wouldn’t expect these things to fit together, but Annette LeBox combines them with enviable grace.
It’s the details that sell it. The writing is as lovely and precise as her heroine’s embroidery. When Suyin transforms into a crane, LeBox names her bones as they transform. When she remembers her beloved mother, it’s with the exact clothes and jewelry that represent the traditions of her culture.
Besides that, LeBox never hesita
Pamela Kramer
Apr 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
'Circle of Cranes' by Annette LeBox is a story that might not appeal at first glance -- but look again -- this book is a wonderful story. It's a combination of realistic fiction, mythology and fairy tale.

Suyin is an orphan. She lives in a small town in rural China where she spends time living with different families. Because she was not adopted by one family, Suyin feels like an outcast.

Because her grandfather forbade the women in the village to teach her the all-important art of embroidery, Suy
Ana Banana
Feb 06, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed LeBox's writing style, especially when she depicted scenery and feelings. The tale of the sweatshop was sad, and the book made me excited about embroidery. However, I was expecting an adventure to the crane magic, but instead it was confusing (view spoiler) and seemed cheesy that she got her wings after standing up for others (which is good character development), but di ...more
Jun 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-and-kids
middle and upper grades
third person POV
AR test
information about the Saving Cranes organization

Suyin, a 13-year-old Chinese village girl, is selected by her village to go to America with smugglers and work in the garment industry in order to better the village. She is also the Crane Wife's daughter, so there is a fantastical element as this Asian folk tale is woven into this present-day story.

Jan 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was unusual. Suyin is taken from her home in China by a human trafficker to work in a New York sweatshop. It is based on fact and in modern time, but is also taken from a myth about women and a secret society of cranes. (the women turn into cranes) It was unexpected fantasy, but told in a modernistic way and it was an enjoyable read.
Jul 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. For such a serious subject, it comes across so easily. Annette LeBox really researched her subject well. Taking a serious matter and weaving it seamlessly with a tale of folklore. Her characters were well thought out and loveable. I think this one is good for ages 10-100. Well worth the read.
Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens
A retelling of an Asian folktale (The Crane Wife) set in the sweatshops of New York City's Chinatown. The characters have to face a lot of harsh realities, so don't mistake this for a light read.
Feb 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
chinese fairy tale mixed with chinese immigration story. Really well told.
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May 16, 2015
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May 13, 2018
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Aug 26, 2012
rated it it was amazing
Mar 10, 2013
Kell Andrews
rated it liked it
Aug 31, 2012
Feb 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Great book, it should be made into a movie!(Filtered for the younger kids of course.)
rated it it was amazing
Aug 31, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Apr 11, 2012
rated it really liked it
Jan 09, 2016
Qiaohong Chen
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May 01, 2016
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Jan 27, 2018
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Annette LeBox is an environmental activist and award-winning author of five picture books and two YA novels. As a founding member and director of the Pitt Polder Preservation Society, she was a major stakeholder in the conservation of two British Columbia Regional Parks: Blaney Bog and Codd Wetlands.

Her picture book, Salmon Creek, was awarded the British Columbia Book prize for illustrated literat