What is A First Farewell about?
Isa Yasan is a Muslim boy from the countryside in Xinjiang, China. His mother was left deaf and mute from meningitis, and she frequently wanders away from home. Isa loves his mother deeply, and is torn among taking care of her, going to school and doing farm work. He is friends with a lively little girl named Kalbinur. They are taking care of an adorable lamb together. Kalbinur's grades in her Uyghur are good, but her Chinese scores are terrible. Since Chinese is the national language, her mother wants to move to the city and find temporary work so Kalbinur can go to a Chinese school. Her father doesn't agree to the plan, and the two argue a lot. That winter, Isa's father decides to send Isa's mother to a nursing home, and Kalbinur's family makes plans to leave the village. Isa reads a story called "A First Farewell" in school, and although he does not fully understand the idea of farewell, he will soon experience it himself.