Qian Julie Wang, author of Beautiful Country, came to the United States in 1994 when she was seven years old. She often went to school hungry and was put in special education classes because she didn’t speak English. Eventually, she graduated from Yale Law School.

Her mother was a professor who taught math and computer classes in China before she came to the United States. However, because she was undocumented, she worked in a garment factory in this country.

Before she left China, Qian Julie Wang’s grandmother gave her a keychain. On the keychain were four Chinese characters, which say, “Feet on solid ground.”

“It means taking it one step at a time….being grounded and looking at just what’s in front of you,” Wang’s mother explained to her.