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The Umbrella Queen

Title: The Umbrella Queen
Author: Shirin Yim Bridges
Illustrator: Taeeun Yoo
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (2008)
ISBN: 9780060750404
 
The women and girls in Noot’s Thai village paint traditional umbrellas. When she is allowed to join the others in this tradition she longs to be the Umbrella Queen. She paints flowers and butterflies, following the example of her mother and grandmother. But Noot’s imagination leads her to add her own ideas to the umbrellas. This disappoints her family. They depend on the work for their livelihood and her unique designs cannot be sold. The king will soon arrive to choose the queen and Noot’s parents demand she paints the traditional umbrella design. She dutifully follows their orders. In the evening Noot paints elephants on little umbrellas and leaves them on a windowsill. The king carefully studies all the umbrellas and Noot’s tiny umbrellas catch his eye. He presents her with the title because she “paints from her heart.”

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