Written by Paul Yee
Illustrated by Harvey Chan
Publication Date June 01, 1996
The story of a young Chinese girl who arrives in North America only to discover that her father has died building the railway.
This powerful, unforgettable and multi-award-winning tale is based on the lives of the Chinese who settled on the west coast of North America in the early 1900s.
Left behind in China by her father, who has gone to North America to find work, Choon-yi has made her living by selling her paintings in the market. When her father writes one day and asks her to join him, she joyously sets off, only to discover that he has been killed.
Choon-yi sees the railway and the giant train engines that her father died for, and she is filled with an urge to paint them. But her work disappoints her until a ghostly presence beckons her to board a train where she meets the ghosts of the men who died building the railway. She is able to give them peace by returning their bones to China where they were born.
Ghostly, magical and yet redeeming, this tale by Paul Yee is superbly illustrated by Harvey Chan.
Winner of the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award 1996
Winner of the Governor General's Literary Awards: Text 1996
Winner of the Prix Enfantaisie 1996
Winner of the Ruth Schwartz Award 1996
Winner of the CLA Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award 1997
Short-listed for the Hackmatack Award 2000
Paul Yee was born in Spalding, Saskatchewan, and grew up in Vancouver's Chinatown. A former archivist, he now writes full time. His books have won many awards and honors, including the Governor General's Award (Ghost Train), the Ruth Schwartz Award (Ghost Train and Roses Sing on New Snow), and the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year Award (Tales from Gold Mountain). He has won the Vancouver Book Award and been shortlisted for the BC Book Prize, and his books have been named to several lists, including NYPL Books for the Teen Age (Dead Man’s Gold), ALA Notables and Booklist's Top Ten Historical Fiction. Most recently, Paul’s young adult novel Money Boy was named a Stonewall Honor Book and he won the Vicky Metcalf Award for a body of work. Paul lives in Toronto.
Harvey Chan immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong as a teenager. He has won the Ruth Schwartz Children's Book Award three times - with Paul Yee for Roses Sing on New Snow and Ghost Train, and with Celia Barker Lottridge for Music for the Tsar of the Sea by Celia Barker Lottridge. Harvey is currently living in Hong Kong.
"A moving fantasy." Booklist
"Yee uses precise details...and powerful imagery...to create a rich atmosphere." Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"A splendid collaboration and achievement, once again, from Paul Yee and Harvey Chan." Globe and Mail