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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

READ THIS: The Eiffel Tower's Daughter, by Bethany Huang

It is estimated that 50 percent of American adults are unable to read an eighth grade level book.  An astounding number of our country's children cannot read at a basic fourth grade level.  The ray of hope?  Bethany Huang of New York published her first novel at the age of 10 and is now working on her second. 
The Eiffel Tower's Daughter, the story of a young girl's quest to protect her mother and unearth her family's secret history, is a thrill ride though Paris, Rouen, and even Egypt.  With the discovery of a long-lost brother, Swanilde enlists the help of her father to out her new step-father as a spy in their midst.  
Huang clearly has a future in writing, and Eiffel Tower is an inspiration to young people with a dream.  

The Eiffel Tower's Daughter, the novel of ten year old Bethany Huang, is a fast read.  Each chapter states the name of the character who will be telling the story in that particular chapter.  This technique of telling the story from the viewpoint of different characters keeps the story very interesting.  The main character of the book, Swanhilde, is a young girl living a mysterious and complicated life.  Her story takes the reader on an adventure beginning in France, moving into Egypt and finally, Greece.  Although the storyline is choppy at times and not all characters and themes are thoroughly developed, this is still quite an impressive work for such a young author.  The Eiffel Tower's Daughter is fast-paced and intriguing and would be a great read for middle school aged children.  Kudos to the author for taking on such a project at such a young age!

Bethany Huang posseses a talent for composition far beyond the limits of the average ten year-old.  She tells the story of a young French heroine named Swanilde who blacks out on the afternoon of her mother's marriage to a spy.  Swanilde's new stepfather turns out to be a cruel man, and thus, she enlists the help of her biological father to help save her mother.  With much grace, Huang describes the family's many struggles throughout their trans-Mediterranean journey.  The most unique aspect of Huang's novel is how each chapter is told through a different character's perspective.  This story of royalty, treason, family, and compassion would make a great edition to any imaginative young teen's library.  Having published this novel by the age of ten, Bethany Huang has much time to continue impressing readers with her artful craft.

I was completely surprised this book was written by a young girl. It was a quick and easy read and I think young girls would like it the best. The story was interesting and believable. The chapters were really short (some were only 1 paragraph long) and that would be perfect for a young reader.  While I teach older students and I am not entire sure this would match some of their tastes, I would be happy to recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a vacation or summer read. It would be a nice break from the more traditional books read in school. 


Most 10-year-olds spend their time playing with friends or going to summer camp. 10-year-olds that aren’t Bethany Huang, that is. 

She was too busy finishing her first novel.

“I’ve always been a very determined person,” says Huang. “When I was in fourth grade, I loved writing poetry. I never considered writing a story, much less a book – until my teacher, Mr. Hill, encouraged me to try. It took me about a year to write the book, but I did it. I wanted to prove to myself that I could.”

In The Eiffel Tower’s Daughter: The Truth Behind the Lies, Huang takes readers into the world of beautiful Swanilde, who runs away after discovering her mother unknowingly married a French spy. She seeks help from her father and long-lost brother Val but is soon separated from them, narrowly escaping capture by her new stepfather, the evil Andreyev. As the rest of her family sits in captivity, it is up to Swanilde to save them.

Now 11, Huang hopes her book will send a message to young people everywhere: “As long as you work hard for what you want to do and put your heart into it, you will succeed in whatever you do.”

For more information, visit Huang’s website at 

About the Author
When she was eight years old, Bethany Huang received the book The Most Fascinating Places on Earthfrom her mother Jennifer. Her eye caught a picture of the Eiffel Tower – and the rest, as they say, is history. Huang published The Eiffel Tower’s Daughter: The Truth Behind the Lies at age 10. Now 11, she lives with her parents and brother in New York and loves reading and writing. This is her first book. Currently, she is working on her second.

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