The Secret Voice of Gina Zhang

Jinna has always been shy, but when her family moves to America from China, she vows to be the new “Gina” – brave, confident, and quick to learn English.  If only her throat would cooperate.  Every time she tries to speak at school, no words come out. What is wrong with her?

Everyone is frustrated by Gina’s silence except Priscilla, a girl with her own need for understanding.  Priscilla is as talkative as Gina is quiet.

Gina wants to trust her, but can she let Priscilla in on her biggest secret, the private fairy-tale world inside her head?

This book is now available in a reprinted version, in paperback and kindle, through Amazon.  Also available in Nook format through

The original version of this book, published by Pleasant Company Publications in 2000, is out of print. It is available through your local library and for purchase second hand through, Powell’s Books, and other sites that include out-of-print books.

Author's Comment: The inspiration for this book came from two young students from China I was helping as a volunteer in one of Seattle’s public elementary schools.  From my own experience living overseas, I know how frustrating it feels when you can’t express yourself in the language of the people around you.  You look and sound dumb.

Reviews: From School Library Journal - On Jinna's first day of school in this country, she is nervous and confused. Her parents expect her to learn English quickly, but when she is asked to repeat a word in her ESL class, she finds she cannot speak at all, not even in Chinese.