Youth Programs

Always on Top (Self Promotion)

Hello everyone!

I have a new picture book coming out in February, and I’m so excited about it!

Adam always has to be on top for everything. In fact, his desire to be on top leads him to poor behavior, including bullying. When he realizes he’s pushing everyone away, he goes to his parents for help. Can he turn his behavior around and gain back the friends he lost?

 

I’m putting a call out for reviewers! If you write a blog (especially kid or lit related) or you’re interested in a free copy of my book, please let me know! You can comment here or email me at adrianna.davis.writer@gmail.com.

Coming

Thank you!

 

Adrianna Davis

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Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah (Mod. 6)

does my head look big in this

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Bibliography:

Abdel-Fattah, Randa. Does My Head Look Big In This. Orchard Books: New York, 2005. ISBN 9780439919470

Plot Summary:

Amal is an Australian-Palestinian girl living in the suburb of Melbourne. She has decided to make the most important decision of her life: to wear the hijab full time. Attending a snobby prep school, Amal is uncertain of what lies ahead. The story takes place after 9/11 when tension between Muslims and the rest of the world are high. Can Amal navigate the rough waters of school, friends, family, and faith? Will her strength in her beliefs be resolute and unshakeable when she’s faced with adversity because of her decision?

Critical Analysis:

This was a wonderful book. I really enjoyed it. The story about this young woman is so compelling. The very informal and conversational tone to the book pulls you into it, and into the character’s mind.

Amal has made the decision to wear the hijab full time. I’m really glad I read this book, because it’s important to understand that for most women, wearing the hijab, or any other form of head covering by any other religion, is a personal decision, and it’s usually one that comes with a lot of thought and care.

“I’m terrified. But at the same time I feel like my passion and conviction in Islam are busting inside me and I want to prove to myself that i”m strong enough to wear a badge of my faith.” (pg. 7)

“The veil, dear.” Her voice is annoyingly phony. “So you’ve been made to wear it from today?”
“Nobody has made me wear it, Mrs. Walsh. It’s my decision.” I shift in the chair, my butt numb from the hard wood.
“Your decision to cover yourself up?” she asks with the faintest hint of skepticism.
I look at her with a bewildered expression. “Yes, it was my decision.” (pg. 39)

This book does a wonderful job of showing Amal as a “normal” girl, while still addressing some of the cultural issues that some Muslims face. Her friend, Leila, for example, is pressured by her mother to get married, even though she is still a teen. This has nothing to do with religion dictation, but rather cultural or societal expectations.

“It depends on what you mean by religious,” Leila answers. “Mom’s following her own customs more than Islam. She doesn’t really have an in-depth understanding about the religion, you know? Whereas my relatives in Turkey are all educated about Islam. The girls pray and some of them wear the veil and they go to university and work, because they know that it’s their right to do that in Islam. Mom’s more into following social customs.” (Pg. 151-152)

This book takes place 1 year after 9/11 and does a great job of showing racism of others in the heat of the anti-Muslim hysteria and how Muslims themselves felt, watching their religion being warped and twisted by people who don’t even understand the religion.

“Terrorists bombed a nightclub in Bali on Saturday. It’s horrific.”
It’s like a sandpit in my throat.
Ms. Walsh’s voice booms over us: “I know how distressed you’ll all be about the weekend bombings in Bali. please make sure to talk to your teachers and the school counselor if you need to. I’m sure you’ll all have the chance to share your feeling and emotions in class.”
It’s agonizing. I can’t feel only grief. Or horror. Or anger. It’s too mixed up. Incongruous, disjointed, and completely insane thoughts flash through my mind. Mom and Dad wanting to book a trip there for their anniversary. What song was playing when the bomb went off? Were there honeymooners? Oh my God, how could honeymooners be killed like that? Did the bombers watch as their inferno turned human life into carcasses? Was I going to be incriminated for their crimes? Was I going to be allowed to share in my country’s mourning or would I be blamed? ” (pg. 249-250)

Amal learns a lot about herself and her faith in this compelling novel. I highly recommend it!

5/5

Review Excerpts: 

From School Library Journal:

“Australian 11th-grader Amal is smart, funny, outspoken, a good student, and a loyal friend. She is also a devout Muslim who decides to wear the hijab, or head covering, full-time. The story tells of her emotional and spiritual journey as she copes with a mad crush on a boy, befriends an elderly Greek neighbor, and tries to help a friend who aspires to be a lawyer but whose well-intentioned mother is trying to force her to leave school and get married. Amal is also battling the misconceptions of non-Muslims about her religion and culture. While the novel deals with a number of serious issues, it is extremely funny and entertaining, and never preachy or forced. The details of Amal’s family and social life are spot-on, and the book is wonderful at showing the diversity within Muslim communities and in explaining why so many women choose to wear the hijab. Amal is an appealing and believable character. She trades verbal jibes with another girl, she is impetuous and even arrogant at times, and she makes some serious errors of judgment. And by the end of the story, she and readers come to realize that ‘Putting on the hijab isn’t the end of the journey. It’s just the beginning of it.'”

From Booklist:

“Like the author of this breakthrough debut novel, Amal is an Australian-born, Muslim Palestinian “whacked with some seriously confusing identity hyphens.” At 16, she loves shopping, watches Sex and the City, and IMs her friends about her crush on a classmate. She also wants to wear the hijab, to be strong enough to show a badge of her deeply held faith, even if she confronts insults from some at her snotty prep school, and she is refused a part-time job in the food court (she is “not hygienic”). Her open-minded observant physician parents support her and so do her friends, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, secular. Her favorite teacher finds her a private space to pray. The first-person present-tense narrative is hilarious about the diversity, and sometimes heartbreaking. For her uncle who wants to assimilate, “foreign” is the f-word, and his overdone Aussie slang and flag-waving is a total embarrassment. On the other hand, her friend Leila nearly breaks down when her ignorant Turkish mom wants only to marry her daughter off (“Why study?”) and does not know that it is Leila’s Islamic duty “to seek knowledge, to gain an education.” Without heavy preaching, the issues of faith and culture are part of the story, from fasting at Ramadan to refusing sex before marriage. More than the usual story of the immigrant teen’s conflict with her traditional parents, the funny, touching contemporary narrative will grab teens everywhere. Rochman, Hazel –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.”

From Kirkus Review:

“Determined to prove she’s strong enough to ‘wear a badge of my faith,’ Amal faces ostracism and ridicule as she dons her hijab with both good humor and trepidation. . . . Abdel-Fattah’s fine first novel offers a world of insight to post-9/11 readers.”

Connections:

Books by Fattah:

Ten Things I Hate About Me ISBN: 9780439943710

Where the Streets Had a Name ISBN: 9780330424202

When Michael Met Mina ISBN: 9781743534977

Books Written by Muslim Women:

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi ISBN: 9780375714832

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai ISBN:  9780316322409

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi ISBN: 9780062085481

Discussion Topic: What other faiths use outward symbols of religion and a commitment made to God? Do these other faiths differ from Muslim women who choose to wear the hijab?

 

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alre Saenze (Mod. 6)

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Google Images

Bibliography:

Saenz, Benjamin Alire. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division: New York, 2012. ISBN 9781442408920

Plot Summary: 

Dante and Ari can’t be any more different than they already are. But when the boys meet, they bond, and together, they redefine each others’s worlds, learning that there is more to the universe than themselves. A powerful coming of age novel.

Critical Analysis:

This book got me right from the start.

“For the music to be over so soon. For the music to be over when it had just begun. That was really sad.” (pg. 2)

In terms of technical writing, it was very beautiful and well done. The pace is slow, but not slow enough to but you off, but to make you understand and get to know Ari and Dante, our main characters. The character arcs are really well developed. The book is about two boys trying to figure themselves out. They both show a decent amount of growth from beginning to end.

The book does a good job of addressing homosexuality. For Dante, it’s pretty easy for him to come to terms with. Not so much for Aristotle. In fact, it’s his parents that really clue him into it. That’s another thing I love about this book, the parents are so supportive. In the LGBTQ+ community, it is uncommon (among the people I know) to have supportive parents. The scene where Aristotle is talking with his mom and dad makes an impact.

“If you keep running, it will kill you.”
“What, Dad?”
“You and Dante.”
“Me and Dante?” I looked at my mother. Then looked at my father.
“Dante’s in love with you,” he said. “That’s obvious enough. He doesn’t hide that from himself.” (Pg. 348)

This conversation was wonderful. For Ari to have parents who want to help him open up to himself makes his journey that much easier. We see the doubt that Ari has and the struggle he’s having with coming to terms with his feelings. This self doubt really makes you feel for him. Even with parents telling him it’s okay to be gay, he’s still struggling with what’s proper or traditionally done.

Another thing this book does is showing that masculinity doesn’t mean not showing no emotion. In fact, the men in this book seem to be more emotional than the women portrayed. For example, Ileana. She is very emotionally detached when it comes to Ari, whereas later in the book, we see Ari and his dad having a real conversation where his dad starts crying with no shame. It’s also more profoundly shown in Dante’s willingness to be completely honest with his feelings. Toxic masculinity is one thing that really feeds homophobia. I think the book did a good job of showing positive masculinity.

I also love that both main characters were Latino.

5/5

 

Review Excerpts:

From Kirkus Review:

“Meticulous pacing and finely nuanced characters underpin the author’s gift for affecting prose that illuminates the struggles within relationships.”

From Booklist:

“Sáenz writes toward the end of the novel that “to be careful with people and words was a rare and beautiful thing.” And that’s exactly what Sáenz does—he treats his characters carefully, giving them space and time to find their place in the world, and to find each other…those struggling with their own sexuality may find it to be a thought-provoking read.”

From The Horn Book:

“Ari’s first-person narrative—poetic, philosophical, honest—skillfully develops the relationship between the two boys from friendship to romance.”

Connections: 

Other books by Benjamin Alire Saenz:

The Inexplicable Logic of  My Life ISBN 9780544586505

Last Night I Sang to the Monster ISBN 9781933693583

He Forgot to Say Goodbye ISBN  9781416949633

Other LGBT books:

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green ISBN  9780525421580

Pantomime By Laura Lam ISBN 9781509807772

Empress of the World by Sara Ryan ISBN 9780142500590

 

Discussion Topic:

How can we enforce positive masculinity as opposed to toxic masculinity?

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (Mod. 6)

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amazon.com

Bibliography:

Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker. The War That Saved My Life. Puffin Books: New York, 2015. ISBN 9780803740815.

Plot Summary: 

Ada is ten years old and has never left her one room apartment because of her disfigured foot. When her little brother Jamie is shipped out of London to escape the war, Ada sneaks out to join him to escape their cruel mother.

Critical Analysis: 

This book is truly fantastic. I loved every bit of it. It doesn’t focus much on historical details of WWII, but it does contain some events, such as London being bombed, and children being sent away to the country side.

“Leaving London,” Mam said, “on account of Hitler, and his bombs.” She looked up at Jamie, not me. “What they say is that the city’s going to be bombed, so all the kids ought to e sent to the country, out of harm’s way. I hadn’t decided whether to send you. Suppose I might. Cheaper, one less mouth to feed.” (pg. 14)

What resonates the most with readers is the sheer strength, determination, and will of Ada Smith. She is bold and daring, and though she struggles with severe anxiety from the abuse she’s suffered, she doesn’t ever give up.

“The second day my good foot and leg hurt too. It was hard to straighten my legs. I had bruises on my knees from falling, and the sores on my bad foot hadn’t healed. The second day all I did was stand, holding the chair. I stood while I looked out my window. I practiced moving my weight from one foot to the other. Then I lay down on the bed and sobbed from the hurt and from exhaustion.” (pg. 10)

“Jamie looked at me in amazement. “I’ve got to take them,” I whispered. “Otherwise people’ll see my foot.”
He said, “You’re standing. You’re walking.” (pg. 16)

She also has a pretty good sense of sass that readers will enjoy.

“Course not. They’re sending kids to live with nice people. Who’d want  you? Nobody, that’s who. Nice people don’t want to look at that foot.”
“I could stay with nasty people,” I said. “Wouldn’t be any different than living here.”
(pg. 15)

The book is very beautifully written and leaves you with a feeling of hope and strength.

“And Mam had no idea how strong a fighter I’d become.” (pg. 299)

5/5

Review Excerpts:

From Publishers Weekly:

“Proving that her courage and compassion carry far more power than her disability, Ada earns self-respect, emerges a hero, and learns the meaning of home.”

From Kirkus Review:

“Ada’s voice is brisk and honest; her dawning realizations are made all the more poignant for their simplicity. . . . Things come to an explosive head, metaphorically and literally. Ignorance and abuse are brought to light, as are the healing powers of care, respect and love. Set against a backdrop of war and sacrifice, Ada’s personal fight for freedom and ultimate triumph are cause for celebration.”

From School Library Journal:

“There is much to like here—Ada’s engaging voice, the vivid setting, the humor, the heartbreak, but most of all the tenacious will to survive.”

Winner of the Schneider Family Book Award

Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2015

Kirkus Best Books of 2015

Connections: 

Other books by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley:

Jefferson’s Sons ISBN 9780803734999

The Lacemaker and the Princess ISBN 9781416919209

For Freedom: The Story of a French Spy ISBN 9780440418313

Related books:

Wonder by R.J. Palacio ISBN 9780375869020

I’ll Be Seeing You by Lurlene McDaniel ISBN

Discussion: How can we be more inclusive for those who have disabilities?

 

 

The House Baba Built by Ed Young Mod. 5

 

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Google Images

Bibliography:

Young, Ed. The House Baba Built. Little Brown Company: New York, 2011. ISBN 9780316076289

Plot Summary:

Ed Young didn’t have a typical childhood. With his country, China, at war, the world seemed a dark place. But one thing stood true for Ed Young. Nothing bad could happen to him when he was in the house his father built. And because of his father, instead of his childhood being about planes, bombs, and soldier, it was  filled with imagination and joy.

Critical Analysis: 

I thought this book was very well written and interesting to read. The pages fold out. They also include beautiful drawings of family and corresponding moments in the story. I love that his “baba” desired to keep his family safe and did so by using his skills as a carpenter and construction worker and imagination. Instead of being influenced by bombs and soldiers, they had a swimming pool and tennis courts and their imagination.

I was pulled into this book and was engaged the whole way through.

I did wish there was more about the war, and how the war was viewed from the point of the Chinese, but that’s also the point of the book, they weren’t as aware of it either, and they lived it.

There was surprisingly a very real lack of culture in this book.

3/5

Review Excerpts:

From School Library Journal

“Young’s father builds a house for his growing family and for others who join them. Against the background of World War II, the author shares childhood memories of changing seasons, raising silkworms, and picnicking by the pool. This oversize book with foldout pages is illustrated with photos, drawings, and collage. Includes a time line and a diagram of the house.”

From Kirkus Review

“The episodic text rambles; some illustrations are casual and chaotic. Others are magnificent. Young uses myriad textures, including crinkly paper and woven reed paper. Collaged family silhouettes feature tenderly sketched faces. Old photos and bits of painted collage glow on dark pages. Miniscule cut-out people populate fold-out drawings and complex, three-dimensional–looking collages of the house. Those wanting historical or cultural background will need supplements, though.

Sophisticated, inventive art invites close viewings for patient readers in this unusual family story.”

From Publishers Weekly

“Young’s creation, shaped with help from author Libby Koponen, is as complex and labyrinthine as Baba’s house, with foldout pages that open to reveal drawings, photos, maps, and memories. Tender portraits of his siblings, torn-paper collages showing tiny figures at play, and old photos of stylish adults intermingle, as if they’d been found forgotten in a drawer. Young’s fans will savor stories of his East-West childhood; he and his four siblings raise silkworms, watch Westerns, train fighting crickets, and dance the conga when the war finally ends 14 years later. “Life,” Baba writes to his children, “is not rich not real unless you partake life with your fellow man”; Young set the course of his life by his father’s words. It’s history at its most personal.”

Connections:

Books by Ed Young:

My Mei Mei ISBN 978-0399243394

The Lost Horse ISBN 978-0152050238

The Sons of the Dragon King ISBN 978-0689851841

Other Books:

Shanghai Messenger by Andrea Cheng ISBN 978-1620142301

The Emperor and the Kite by Jane Yolen ISBN 978-0698116443

The Empty Pot by Demi ISBN 978-0805049008

Discussion Circle:

How can we find happiness when things are bad?

Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac (Mod. 4)

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amazon.com

Bibliography:

Bruchac, Joseph. Code Talker: a novel about the Navajo Marines of World War Two. Dial Books: New York, 2005.

Plot Summary:

Ned Begay wants to join the war, especially when he hears that Navajos are being recruited specifically. He lies about his age so he can enlist, goes through boot camp, and finds himself involved in a top-secret task performed only by Navajos, as a code talker. Code Talkers were a crucial part of WWII. They helped US efforts by sending messages back and forth in an unbreakable code using their language. This is a story of the legendary Code Talkers.

Critical Analysis:

This book is so important for multicultural literature and literature in general. WWII is one of the most highly discussed wars and shows up so often in books (such as The Book Thief or The Librarian of Auschwitz). However, even in our history classrooms, the contribution of the Navajos are barely touched on, if even mentioned at all. They were key in our win in the war, and without their sacrifice and bravery, we would have been severely impacted. That’s why I think this book is so important.

Not only is the historic impact of this book significant, it’s significant to Native American literature. The choices, especially for young adults, are few and far between. Not much is written on Native Americans and there is very little representation for their ethnic group in literature.  This book focuses on Navajo Native Americans and the treatment that they received before, during, and after the war.

The book is very well written. It is styled with Grandfather telling his grandchildren about the events. Using this narrative voice mutes the horror of war a little, making it more palatable for children. While I understand the desire to not subject kids to the horrors of our world, and to keep them innocent for as long as we can, we gain nothing by keeping them in the dark and uninformed. But it’s also just a fantastic way to tell this kind of story. While you read, you feel as if you are sitting around a campfire, listening to the grandfather tell his story. It’s very inclusive in that you feel like you are apart of it. The flow and pacing were really well done, and the characters were well developed.

I would highly recommend this book to others, especially for those interested in military novels, history, or multicultural literature.

4/5

Review Excerpts:

From School Library Journal:

“In the measured tones of a Native American storyteller, Bruchac assumes the persona of a Navajo grandfather telling his grandchildren about his World War II experiences. Protagonist Ned Begay starts with his early schooling at an Anglo boarding school, where the Navajo language is forbidden, and continues through his Marine career as a “code talker,” explaining his long silence until “de-classified” in 1969. Begay’s lifelong journey honors the Navajos and other Native Americans in the military, and fosters respect for their culture. Bruchac’s gentle prose presents a clear historical picture of young men in wartime, island hopping across the Pacific, waging war in the hells of Guadalcanal, Bougainville, and Iwo Jima. Nonsensational and accurate, Bruchac’s tale is quietly inspiring, even for those who have seen Windtalkers, or who have read such nonfiction works as Nathan Aaseng’s Navajo Code Talkers (Walker, 1992), Kenji Kawano’s Warriors: Navajo Code Talkers (Northland, 1990), or Deanne Durrett’s Unsung Heroes of World War II: The Story of the Navajo Code Talkers (Facts On File, 1998).”

From Booklist:

“Six-year-old Ned Begay leaves his Navajo home for boarding school, where he learns the English language and American ways. At 16, he enlists in the U.S. Marines during World War II and is trained as a code talker, using his native language to radio battlefield information and commands in a code that was kept secret until 1969. Rooted in his Navajo consciousness and traditions even in dealing with fear, loneliness, and the horrors of the battlefield, Ned tells of his experiences in Hawaii, Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Guam, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. The book, addressed to Ned’s grandchildren, ends with an author’s note about the code talkers as well as lengthy acknowledgments and a bibliography. The narrative pulls no punches about war’s brutality and never adopts an avuncular tone. Not every section of the book is riveting, but slowly the succession of scenes, impressions, and remarks build to create a solid, memorable portrayal of Ned Begay. Even when facing complex negative forces within his own country, he is able to reach into his traditional culture to find answers that work for him in a modern context. Readers who choose the book for the attraction of Navajo code talking and the heat of battle will come away with more than they ever expected to find.”

From Kirkus Reviews:

“When WWII broke out, Navajos…were recruited by the Marine Corps to use their native language to create an unbreakable code….Telling his story to his grandchildren, Ned relates his experiences in school, military training, and across the Pacific….With its multicultural themes and well-told WWII history, this will appeal to a wide audience.”

Connections:

Other books by Joseph Bruchac

Skeleton Man ISBN 9780064408882

The First Strawberries ISBN 9780140564099

Dragon Castle ISBN 9780803733763

Similar Books:

Eyes of the Emperor by Graham Sailsbury ISBN 9780440229568

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry ISBN 9780547577098

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein ISBN 9781423152880

 

 

The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin Mod. 5

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Google Images

Bibliography:

Lin, Grace. The Year of the Dog. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: New York, 2007. ISBN 9780316060028.

Plot Summary:

Pacy Lin is excited for the new year, the Year of the Dog, where she is supposed to find wealthy and strengthen relationships. This funny book is about a young Taiwanese-American girl who is discovering who she is and fostering her relationships with her parents, her friends, her sisters, and her cultural identity.

Critical Analysis:

I thought this was a very good book. It is well written, especially for children transitioning from early readers to middle grade. The language is simplistic and easy to follow, yet descriptive and well written enough to keep their attention and increase their imagination.

The story is one that will most especially resonate with children from immigrant families. The cross between cultures, and feeling as though there are two parts of you, or more.

“But I’m not really Chinese either. It’s kind of confusing. My parents came from Taiwan. Some people thought Taiwan was part of China. So then calling me Chinese was kind of correct. Other people thought Taiwan was a country all by itself, so then I should be called Taiwanese. It didn’t help that my parents spoke both Chinese and Taiwanese. ‘So when people ask me what I am, what am I supposed to tell them?” I once asked Mom. “You tell them that you’re American,” Mom told me firmly. But my friend didn’t call me Chinese, Taiwanese, or American. They called me Grace, my American name.”  pg. 18 & 19

The focus on culture is really well done. The story centers around the Chinese new year, being the year of the dog, it indicates celebrating friends and family and self discovery.

“‘Yes,’ Lissy told me, nodding her head so hard that her black hair swung back and forth. Lissy always thought she knew everything. ‘You know how they say a dog is a man’s best friend? Well, in the Year of the Dog you find your best friends.” pg. 2

The sense of community is also very present in this book.

“What’s TAC camp?” I asked. 
“Oh, it’s a camp for Taiwanese-Americans. We all get together and do things,” she told me. “We go every summer. We spend a week there and then we go see my Aunt Alice the next week.” 
“That sounds boring,” I said. 
“No, it’s fun!” Melody said. “We sing songs and go to art class- all the usual fun camp things, except everyone is Taiwanese. Maybe you should come!” pg. 90 & 91

It also brings to light challenges our young kids have to face, like friendship and relations between parents and siblings. Even extended family.

The book is dotted with cute little black and white drawings and the who layout of the book is good. Several stories that were told by herself or family members interrupt the narrative.

This is a great middle grade book that kids will love.

5/5

Review Excerpts:

From School Library Journal:

“A lighthearted coming-of-age novel with a cultural twist. Readers follow Grace, an American girl of Taiwanese heritage, through the course of one year–The Year of the Dog–as she struggles to integrate her two cultures. Throughout the story, her parents share their own experiences that parallel events in her life. These stories serve a dual purpose; they draw attention to Graces cultural background and allow her to make informed decisions. She and her two sisters are the only Taiwanese-American children at school until Melody arrives. The girls become friends and their common backgrounds illuminate further differences between the American and Taiwanese cultures. At the end of the year, the protagonist has grown substantially. Small, captioned, childlike black-and-white drawings are dotted throughout. This is an enjoyable chapter book with easily identifiable characters.”

From Booklist:

“When Lin was a girl, she loved the Betsy books by Carolyn Hayward, a series about a quintessentially American girl whose days centered around friends and school. But Lin, a child of Taiwanese immigrants, didn’t see herself in the pages. Now she has written the book she wished she had as a child. Told in a simple, direct voice, her story follows young Grace through the Year of the Dog, one that Grace hopes will prove lucky for her. And what a year it is! Grace meets a new friend, another Asian girl, and together they enter a science fair, share a crush on the same boy, and enjoy special aspects of their heritage (food!). Grace even wins fourth place in a national book-writing contest and finds her true purpose in life. Lin, who is known for her picture books, dots the text with charming ink drawings, some priceless, such as one picturing Grace dressed as a munchkin. Most of the chapters are bolstered by anecdotes from Grace’s parents, which connect Grace (and the reader) to her Taiwanese heritage. Lin does a remarkable job capturing the soul and the spirit of books like those of Hayward or Maud Hart Lovelace, reimagining them through the lens of her own story, and transforming their special qualities into something new for today’s young readers.”

From Kirkus Review:

“This comfortable first-person story will be a treat for Asian-American girls looking to see themselves in their reading, but also for any reader who enjoys stories of friendship and family life.”

 

Connections:

Other books by Grace Lin:

Dumpling Days ISBN: 9780316125895

Dim Sum for Everyone ISBN: 9780385754880

The Ugly Vegetables ISBN: 9781570914911

Similar books:

Ruby Lu, Brave and True by Lenore Look ISBN 9781416913894

Apple Pie Fourth of July by Janet S. Wong ISBN 9780152057084

The Dragon’s Child: A Story of Angel Island by Laurence Yep ISBN 9780060276928

Connective Activity:

Find out what the animal is for the year you were born. What is the characteristic for that year?