Friday, March 23, 2012

Year of the Dog by Grace Lin

Grace Lin has won a Newbery Honor in 2009 with Where the Mountain Meet the Moon which I enjoyed, and a Geisel Honor (for best early reader) last year with Ting and Ling: Not Exactly the Same. This book is different from either of these. It is a contemporary realistic fiction about a little girl growing up as a Taiwanese American.  Since the little girl has the same name as the author, one would assume that it is autobiographical.  The book is amazingly mild. The little girl has a loving family with both parents at home.  She has two sisters who sometimes quarrel but generally like each other. There are two main points to the story. One is to describe what it is like to be a of Taiwanese decent in America, including dealing with minor instances of prejudice (like having a girl in your class tell you you can't try out for the part of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz because Dorothy wasn't Chinese). The other is a little girl's struggle to decide what she wants to do with her life. Lin deals with both of these issues with innocent honesty, but without any real angst. There are several books in the series.  This would be a good series for a little girl who is High/Lo, that is high reading level, low age.  A good reader who was in first or second grade could really enjoy this one without having their young emotions overtaxed. (134 p)

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