||edHelper's suggested reading level:
||grades 6 to 9
||Flesch-Kincaid grade level:
||linguist, largely, romance, phonetic, unemployed, invasion, best, feudal, knowledgeable, entertainment, writing, committee, fiction, mathematics, span, successful
||Lensey Namioka, Buwei Yang Chao, Yuenren Chao, United States, Radcliffe College, Asian Studies, Isaac Namioka, New York, Wells College, Cornell University
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1 At eight years old, author Lensey Namioka wrote her very first book. The book was about a woman warrior, and it was written on scraps of paper sewn together with thread. Already it was evident that this promising young writer demonstrated great potential. Now more than thirty years later, Lensey Namioka has succeeded is becoming an accomplished author of books for children and young adults.
2 Lensey Namioka was born in Beijing, China, in 1929. She is the daughter of Buwei Yang Chao, a surgeon, and Yuenren Chao, a linguist who specialized in the Chinese language and dialects. Named by her father, Lensey has an exclusive name. Around the time of Lensey's birth, the Chinese government decided to create a writing system that would be easier for people to learn. Because he was so knowledgeable of the Chinese language, her father was on the committee. He had to first help create a phonetic system. In doing this, Lensey's father discovered two syllables in the Chinese language that actually had no Chinese words that use them. The syllables are written as len and sey in English. It's from her father's discovery that Lensey got her name. Lensey writes, "That was how I wound up with a name that looks plausible, but which makes every Chinese say, ‘Huh?' It also guarantees that nobody else in the world has (or would want) a name like mine."
3 Lensey's family moved multiple times while they lived in China. She even moved to the United States briefly as a very young child. However, her family returned to the United States permanently in 1938 largely because of the Japanese invasion into China. Lensey's family made their way to Hawaii and later settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Lensey attended grade school. Like many others who have moved to a new country, Lensey struggled to learn a language that was so different from her native Chinese. She brought Chinese books with her from China. However, once she mastered English, Lensey eagerly read book after book in her neighborhood library. Although she excelled in math, Lensey especially enjoyed writing.
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