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Earth Passages
Journeys Through Childhood
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Earth Passages
Journeys Through Childhood

By Lora Jo Foo
2008, 95 pages, Hardback.

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Book Description from the Front Cover Flap

Consisting of 28 vignettes and 53 color nature photographs, Earth Passages: Journey through Childhood tells the author's story, the story of a girl born and raised in a family of eight in the inner city ghetto of San Francisco's Chinatown. Behind the gilded golden lions and tourist-filled Grant Avenue, the girl lives in federal housing, raised by a mother who works six and sometimes seven days a week, twelve hours a day in a garment sweatshop. The girl grows up quickly when at the age of nine she begins working for the man to whom her mother must repay family debts. In the girl's rare escapes into the woods she discovers a magical world so unlike the ghetto in which she lives.

The stories from childhood are paired with color nature photographs taken by the author as an adult. The photographs capture the emotional weight of growing up in the barrenness and harshness of an inner city ghetto. They are images of lichen clinging onto sandstone and rock, of trees that grow through granite, cling onto hillsides and cliffs, or eke out a life in dry desert climates. They are images of mother nature giving her what she did not receive from her overworked mother-the folds of the earth that cradle, the caressing of boulders and trees, the sense of belonging, the tender and warm embrace of early morning and late afternoon sunlight, the sustenance, serenity, the safety of the womb, the attention of an only child.

For the author, nature photography also played a major role in her healing from the traumas and wounds of childhood. The photographs are combined with her writings of her journeys through childhood for the reader to understand the path the author traveled to become the person she is today.

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Background on Lora Jo Foo

A garment worker at age 11 and a union organizer for eight years in the garment and hotel industries, Lora Jo Foo became an attorney representing low wage workers in sweatshop industries. She litigated numerous groundbreaking cases on their behalf. She co-founded Sweatshop Watch and the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum. In 2002, she published her first book, Asian American Women: Issues, Concerns and Responsive Human and Civil Rights Advocacy. A gifted photographer, Foo has photographed throughout the United States and world. She has exhibited her nature photographs in galleries and at fine art fairs in the San Francisco Bay Area where she lives. She is currently the organizing director of a major California union.

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Most recent revision October 22, 2008