Monday, December 23, 2013

Abbreviated Review: Year of the Dog by Grace Lin

An abbrieviated reviews are just shorter and use a more simple format. Here we go:

Premise: Readers follow Grace, an American girl of Taiwanese heritage, through the course of one year as she struggles to integrate her two cultures... 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. (From School Library Journal)

This novel is a great read for those in grades 3-5. I really like the way it handled the experience of being the only child of a particular culture (in this case, Taiwanese) in a school group. Grace/Pacy is really struggling to understand how she can be both American AND Taiwanese.

This book had been on my shelf for a long time, but I avoided it because I thought it might be too preachy. Man - I was really missing out! Grace Lin deftly balances the questions of identity with typical experiences such as friendship, boys, and school projects. She also does a fabulous job of keeping Chinese-American culture diverse, rather than giving in to the temptation of making it a monolith. But my favorite thing was the humor. I laughed out loud. The voice of the story is a middle grades girl, and boy did Grace Lin nail that young voice. Also, my 5th grade students really enjoy this novel. Nicely done!
4 stars

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