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Above the Clouds

Three Coins IV - A Continuing Saga of the American West


An Illustrated Book

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The timeless story of "Three Coins" is brought to life with 57 new vibrant full-color watercolor illustrations. This enduring tale is rejuvenated for both young ones and grown-ups alike who will fall in love with the courage and resilience of a nine-year-old mui tsai who refuses to give up hope that she will one day find freedom and love. Her defiant survival gave birth to generations of Americans.


When Ah Ying is kidnapped, she must escape from her life of slavery while being pursued by highbinders and missionaries in order to find true love in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Ah Ying is only nine years old when she awakens in the hold of a ship bound for America. Sold by her family for a few Chinese yuan, she is beaten and burned as a child slave in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Her defiant survival allows Ah Ying to take control of her life as she finds romance, is rescued by missionaries, and is given a new life at the Mission Home. Life is good until her rescuers become her captors, and she is again forced to flee to be with her beloved Gee Sung. What ensues is a race between her love for Gee Sung, the Tong highbinders who want to enslave her, and the Presbyterian Missionaries who want to save her soul.

"Three Coins - An Illustatrated Book. 66 pages. 57 full color illustrations.

Above the Clouds

San Francisco Chinatown 1880 - 1925

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Gum Saan Journeys Publishing

Dr. Tererai Trent
Author of The Awakened Woman, Scholar, Speaker, Humanitarian

"I find no words to express my gratitude to you for sharing your story! Indeed, the story of "Three Coins" resonates with me deeply. You gave me hope and a strong belief that my fight for a better life has a lasting ripple effect on many generations to come! You are a gift! And thank you for celebrating women and their resilience in a world that seemingly wants our silencing! I will never forget your Great-grandmother, Ah Ying, as long as I live!"You will too

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Sue Lee 
Chinese Historical Society
of America

"Ah Ying is a woman after my own heart. She is feisty and smart. Definitely got a mind of her own. And once she decides what she wants, she goes for it. She's so different from the stereotypical docile, filial Chinese daughter. What a good read!" Sue Lee


Anne Hoiberg
Author, Activist, Educator Women's Museum of California Hall of Fame

"Russell N. Low's book, Three Coins, highlights the resilience, determination, courage, and stubbornness of his great-grandmother, Ah Ying, who was sold by her family and brought to America as a nine-year-old Chinese slave for a family in San Francisco's Chinatown. Ah Ying's story begins in September 1880 when her mother gives her three coins to toss into the ocean to protect her on her journey. Ah Ying's life in Chinatown reflects the early history of human trafficking to this country and U.S. and California legislation that outlawed Chinese immigration from 1875 to 1943. Her story includes kidnappings, the Presbyterian Mission Home, rescues, romance, marriage, children, a devastating earthquake, and the resultant racial division between the Chinese and White San Franciscans that "once again became evident, as the effects of the great equalizer quickly faded." 

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