The trees want to remain quiet, but the wind will not stop.
(In spite of a wish for peace, trouble is brewing).
— Chinese proverb
Trouble is indeed brewing in Washington Territory, 1885. “The Wind Will Not Stop” is a middle grade historical novel which sets the story of a lonely boy living in Tacoma against the backdrop of a major historical event: the forced expulsion of Chinese immigrants from American towns in the late 1800s.
Eleven-year-old Ty Ritter’s only goal is to get through each day unnoticed. He’s hungry, dirty, and can’t read. He has no idea that in a different part of town, the Chinese are also trying to survive as they face daily persecution and discrimination.
When Ty discovers a three-legged dog, his life begins to change. Because of the dog, he meets Eva, an intrepid girl from New York City. His life is saved by Mr. Low, a Chinese immigrant and successful businessman, and the boy gets to know Mrs. Low as well. Even though she’s confined to bed for her pregnancy, she teaches him chess and many wise proverbs. (“A patient woman can roast an ox with a lantern.” and “The man who says it can't be done should not interrupt the person doing it.”) They help to rescue Li, a runaway Chinese girl.
Ty soon realizes that life for the Chinese and their supporters is getting increasingly difficult. Tacoma’s mayor is ramping up pressure to force them out. As the fight against the Chinese reaches its culmination, Ty discovers that he has some talents and skills after all. Will he be able to use these to help his friends? Is he strong enough to make a difference? Or will he return to the way he used to be: a lonely boy who doesn’t dare dream of a better life.
“We must learn from history.” – Chinese proverb