The Vine Basket

The Vine Basket Book Cover The Vine Basket
Josanne La Valley
Realistic Fiction
Clarion Books
April 2, 2013

Mehrigul is a 14 year old Ugmur girl. Ugmur is a small Muslim Village ruled by Chinese people. Mehrigul lives with her parents, grandfather and her little sister Lali.  She has a brother Mehmet who leaves because he was fed up with his parents. Mehrigul sells food in the market for living, when she is supposed to go to her school. Since her parents cannot afford to pay for her school, she helps her family at home while her little sister goes off to school. When she goes to the market as usual  to sell starch, she meets an American lady  who buys her Vine basket that her grandpa made for 100 yuans. The American lady wishes to buy more baskets so she gives Mehrigul 2 weeks time. Mehrigul wants to make more baskets, but she has to ask her dad who gambles and drinks every Wednesday. Her dad does not trust Mrs. Chases, the American lady. Because her dad does not allow her to make more baskets, she asks for some help from her grandpa. She also goes through a lot of other problems like her school. She must go to back to her school in order for her to live with her parents. She tries to make her best basket under hard circumstances with the help of her grandpa. She  also sells more food in the market for her family.

MY OPINION: After I read this book, I learned all the struggles of an Ugmur girl. First I didn’t really like the book because it was boring but as I forced myself to read it everyday, I found it interesting and different. I also learned that Muslim kids call their mom and dad Ana and Ata in their language. Some parts are hard because they talk about Muslim cultures, which does not make sense and it is a little hard to pronounce the names of some people. The author uses complex vocabulary but the good thing about this book is that, the reader can learn about Muslim people and their culture which is really interesting. The author provides details that makes the reader want to keep reading. I would recommend this book to Middle schoolers and High schoolers because of the wide vocabulary. At the same time, I would give this book a 7 out of 10. I would say this book is good.


  1. Why did Megriguls father leave her alone every Wednesday?
    He leaves her alone every Wednesday because he goes off to gamble and drink.
  2. Is Mehrigul’s Friend Hajinsa rich or poor?
    Hajinsa is really rich and bossy.
  3. Why did the Chinese people take over Ugmur?
    Chinese people thought that Ugmur people were living their place.
  4. why can’t Mehrigul speak English?
    She can’t speak English because she is Ugmur and they don’t teach English to kids unless they go to school.
  5. Why did Mehmet leave his family?
    He left his family because he was old enough and he didn’t like the Chinese people ruling over them.

Hard Edged(p.27)


  1. What does ‘assalamualaikum’ mean?
    It means peace be unto you.
  2. Why do Ugmur kids call their mom ‘Ana’? Kids call their mom ‘Ana’ because it mean Mom in Ugmur.
  3. where did Mehrigul and her family live?
    Mehrigul and her family live on an oasis.
  4. Why did Mehrigul’s dad take her baskets?
    He took her baskets to sell them in the Pilgrimage Market where things cost less than usual.
  5. Why did Mehrigul’s Mom support her husband?
    She thought Mehrigul lied to her about her dad stealing her baskets.



  1. What did Mehrigul’s dad say when she showed him the basket?
    He wanted her to sell the baskets for a high amount and he was disappointed.
  2. Why did Mehrigul’s dad not sign the paper?
    He didn’t sign it because he was going to the main office the other week.
  3. Did the American lady come back at the right time?
    No. She came back after a long time.
  4. Did Mehrigul’s dad come back late?
    No. He came back early and bought her a scarf.
  5. Did Mehrigul’s grandpa like Mehriguls basket?
    He liked it and said that it was very special.