The Year of the Book
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The Year of the Book (Year of)

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3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  1,078 ratings  ·  247 reviews
In Chinese, peng you means friend. But in any language, all Anna knows for certain is that friendship is complicated. When Anna needs company, she turns to her books. Whether traveling through A Wrinkle in Time, or peering over My Side of the Mountain, books provide what real life cannot—constant companionship and insight into her changing world. Books, however, can’t tell...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published May 22nd 2012 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2012)
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Jeremy Ruble
I just read a book I wished I had read a year ago: "The Year of the Book" by Andrea Cheng

It's not a great story, but it's great because it is a year in the life of a modern, American Born Chinese girl. Here's why it's a powerful book to be familiar with as a fourth grade teacher. It's written at an AR 3.6 level - very much an "on the cusp" reading level for a somewhat struggling beginning fourth grader. It's a chapter book, but it's semi-illustrated so it's a good transitional book for those gir...more
Linda
A fourth grade ABC (American born Chinese according to the book) struggles with her relationship with her mother, her feelings of being different because she is Chinese, and the 'how-to' of making friends. The book leads us through Anna's story, and while not all is perfect, she does find some answers to some personal questions. The title refers to the way that Anna seems to deal with her problems, by hiding in a book. While she shares some great titles like A Wrinkle In Time and My Side of the...more
Kathy
I used this as a read aloud in my classroom. It was a hit with boys and girls alike. The characters were interesting, the theme was positive and exhibited a strong message about friendship and compassion. My students also commented that they liked the integration of some Chinese language and culture.
Michael Culbertson
In fourth grade, Anna Wang's friend Laura is more interested in spending time with Allison than with her, and Anna retreats into the world of her books. As the year progresses, Anna learns that Laura's life is not as happy as it seems, and she rediscovers friendship.

The book proceeds as a series of first-person vignettes that provide a window into the life of the main character and her social development over the course of the year. The vignettes treat themes of loneliness, social isolation, emb...more
Betty-Ann
When a librarian sees a title of a book with the word “books” in it, it just has to be read. And I am so glad I did. This is a sweet story of friendship and how it is not always a smooth journey. Anna Wang is in fourth grade and in the past Laura has been her friend. But now Laura seems to spend more time with Allison and Lucy and Anna just doesn’t fit in. To escape the loneliness, Anna turns to her books. She finds courage in pages of My Side of the Mountain, and acceptance of her Chinese herit...more
Vikki VanSickle
This book covers the ups and downs of Anna Wang’s grade four year. Anna is a quiet, meticulous child who enjoys reading and sewing. She is less enchanted with Chinese school, which her mother insists she attend, and is wary of her fair-weather friend Laura, who seems to prefer the company of mean-girl in training Allison.

Author Andrea Cheng nails the politics of childhood, especially triangular relationships. Laura seems to prefer Anna’s company, but chooses Allison over Anna when push comes to...more
Lindsay
In this story, a shy Chinese-American girl turns to books to get through her fourth grade year but learns to make friends with a little girl whose family is going through a bad divorce, an elderly widowed man, and her school's crossing guard.

What I enjoyed about this book was that Anna reminded me of me--I had a terrible time making friends as a child and also dove into books. I also liked that the book addressed divorce, a parent whose first language is not English and is going to college, and...more
Becky
The Year of the Book has a cozy feel to it, perhaps because of the hopeful outlook. Though Anna, our heroine, isn't absolutely loving all the changes that come with being in fourth grade, she has much to be thankful for. Anna gets great joy out of reading. Almost every chapter in this one includes Anna reading a new book or talking about a new book. Sometimes she's sharing memories of a book she loved, loved, loved long ago like Little Blue and Little Yellow (by Leo Lionni), and other times she'...more
Roxanne Hsu Feldman
I really like this charming little middle grade book. I appreciate that it tells a contemporary story with an ABC (American Born Chinese) protagonist that has some Chinese cultural things sprinkled through without making the heritage a “problem” in her life or in her relationship with her friends. I think Andrea Cheng really captures that 10-year-old-book-lover-in-the-process-of-sorting-out-friendship-and-family-relations spirit and she successfully implies many emotions and events without ever...more
The Styling Librarian
The Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng – 3rd grade and up, Realistic Fiction – So, what flew through my mind within the first chapter? I ABSOLUTELY LOVE this character! It was wonderful to read a book that I knew would partner well with my students who love Lenore Look’s Ruby Lu Brave and True and Grace Lin’s Year of the Dog in addition to many other favorite early chapter book/fiction realistic fiction novels that are touching, thoughtful, innocent, humorous, and compelling reads. I loved reading...more
BAYA Librarian
This story follows Anna through fourth grade as she struggles with friendship, her relationship with her mother, and her identity as an American Born Chinese (ABC). Being a book lover, Anna has books to help keep her company as she navigates the year. The writing is simple and uncomplicated. There are some nice little illustrations by Abigail Halpin, and the book is filled with tidbits of information about Chinese culture. Younger kids will love recognizing the titles Anna loves, and probably en...more
Tredyffrin Kids
First things first: Hooray for books about introverts!

Sometimes it seems as though there are so many sassy and outspoken heroines out there that we forget about the ones who are quietly sewing a drawstring bag as a gift for their school crossing guard.

Anna Wang is not sassy. She is not outspoken. If given the choice, she'd rather be reading a book in the corner. However, her life is just as full of growing pains and potential drama as the next fourth grader's. She feels left out by the other g...more
Lynn
Having just finished "Quiet" about introverts, Anna was definitely an introvert, and was simply finding her way as she struggles with friendships and does her own thing quietly on the side, such as reading lots of great books, sewing, and doing for others. She had subtle help from her teacher and mom (dad was uninvolved - why? Wouldn't he be central figure in an American-Chinese family?) lots of emphasis on mom studying to be a nurse. Good story for the quiet girls. Is this a stereotype of the C...more
Linda Lipko
Found on Goodreads as a recommendation, this is a delightful tale of young Anna Wang who loves books.

Straddled between two cultures, Anna is embarrassed by her mother's Chinese ways and yet she loves her family, hoping they can be more American.

As most coming of age books, this one deals with learning how to be a friend and how to accept friendship. Unsure of her life, books are Anna's companions.

When she befriends Laura, she gradually learns of Laura's family life and the fact that Laura's fath...more
Kristen
I bought this book for my library because it was a special value book from Junior Library Guild (JLG's books are all great), because I really liked the cover, and because I'm trying to incorporate more multi-cultural books.

This book follows Anna, an American-born Chinese fourth grader, who has recently been jilted by her best friend. She is a little embarrassed of her Mom, who is a nursing student with imperfect English skills. To make matters worse, she also cleans an elderly shut-in's apartme...more
Sherry Philippus
4 stars
Texas Bluebonnet nominee 2014-15

This isn't eloquent prose or a new classic, but it's a great little book that 2nd through 4th grade girls are going to love. Here's why: it's written with an easy, readable flow, with a style and vocabulary that children understand immediately. What really touched me in this story was how well Cheng transported me back to the poignant childhood experience of being left out of the group. She writes about it like a child would explain it, really getting into...more
Hannah
This is an understated and altogether lovely story of personal growth and friendship. It's both realistic and sweet. The author respects the reader's intellect by using her writing to show, not tell. I felt connected to Anna from the first chapter, and empathized with her throughout the story. I want to read the sequel soon.
Christina
Another book of the "wish it had been around when I was a kid" variety. A sweet story of a 4th grade girl who likes to read, with tones of social anxiety and a friend's family problems layered in.
Eva


I am this amazing book right now. It is about this ABC(American born Chinese) and she is so much like me exept she is learning Chinese. She is so awesome
Tiffany
This story is nicely grounded with Anna loving to read. No matter how things go at school or at home, she loves to read a good book and that keeps her grounded. The theme is about friendship. Anna likes Laura very much but ever since she hangs out with Allison, Anna just doesn't feel that good about it. She keeps to herself but also is a friend in need when Laura's family is going through some rough times. Anna and Laura hit it off again and this time Laura stays and doesn't desert her like befo...more
Linda
4+ This is about a 4th grader so possibly that age reader is target audience. But as someone famous said [C. S. Lewis maybe] much more eloquently - If a kid's book can't be enjoyed by an adult, it isn't a very good kid's book.
I think this story is good, other interesting books are mentioned, craft ideas are woven into the action, along with Chinese words [spoken and written] and facts. And there was another bonus. To quote from the jacket. "Andrea [author] is an ardent believer in the power of...more
Mehsi
Anna is a Chinese-American girl who often dives into books for comfort and for fun. However her books can't tell her how to find or make a true friend.

I really loved this book, it was adorable, cute and the only thing that I didn't like 100% was that it was short, too short.

The book has various illustrations, which really made the story more fun to read and which brought it to life.

Anna is lovely character, though at times I wish she would stand up for herself more, not only to her classmates o...more
Carol Royce Owen
Anna is a fourth grade girl having trouble with friendships. Her best friend, Laura, is hanging out more with other girls, Allison and Lucy, and it seems pretty clear that there is no room for a fourth. Although hurt, Anna turns to her books for comfort, and even when Laura starts to try to come back around, Anna finds she'd rather spend time with her books. But Laura really needs a true friend, and Anna needs to learn if she can be that kind of friend.

I can see this book being a success with 3r...more
Jayce Senter
The Year of the Book Review

Genre: Realistic
AR level: 3.6
Grade appropriate: 2nd and up

RATING BREAKDOWN:
Overall: 4/5-- A sweet little book about a girl who's best friend has deserted her for another friend and she turns to reading to cope. She eventually learns that there is a lot going on in this girl's home life although it doesn't go into much detail.

Creativity: 3/5-- Very similar to many books about this age group, but I loved the way Anna read well-known and loved books.

Characters: 4/5--...more
Teresa Garrett
Anna is having a rough time with her friend Laura, who is giving into peer pressure and shutting Laura out, except when clique leader Allison is excluding Laura. Anna can't help but be hurt by Laura's exclusions and can't understand why Laura bothers with Allison who seems to have a mean streak when she is not getting her way. Anna turns to books and forgets her problems as she reads: My Side of the Mountain, A Wrinkle in Time, My Louisiana Sky, and The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweile...more
Jacquelin Devlin
The quietly observant point of view of this shy fourth grader is refreshingly different from the snarky personalities that so often populate middle grade readers today. Anna, an avid reader, turns to books for company when friends are hard to keep or to understand. Plots and subplots are also quiet with small turns, almost episodic, but her increasing willingness to enter the social fray is authentically portrayed. She learns to deal with her own insecurities about being Chinese yet not speaking...more
♥kawaii♥
It was a really great book. A little under my level, but that's ok! Anna is a lot like me, and I act like her sometimes. She is a great charecter.
Joan
Today I want to introduce you to a new book. The cover did not appeal to me at first, but if you look at it closely...What do you see? There are many different book covers on the tree. Some of you may already love to read. Then you will relate to the author's point of view. For those of you who don't pick up a book for fun (like I used to be), this book may give you a different perspective. In this book, I found students thinking they were different, people helping and being rude. I find sometim...more
A.E. Stueve
I haven't been able to read a book for about a week and a half. I had eye surgery. It's been rough. Now that I'm back in the reading game I decided to start slowly and read this book my 8-year-old daughter recommended. I don't read a lot of children's literature these days beyond the classics. This isn't because of any dislike of the genre. In fact, I have nothing but appreciation for good children's lit. I just keep myself busy with more adult stuff. When your child thinks you'll like a book sh...more
Alia
Fourth grade is tough for Anna Wang. While she can talk easily to the grownups in her life like her teacher Ms. Simmons and Ray the crossing guard, navigating her way through friendships with the girls in her class is a lot harder. Her best friend Laura is suddenly more interested in hanging out with new friends, leaving Anna the odd girl out. Then there's Chinese school where Anna is the only one who doesn't speak any Chinese. Anna tries escaping into the books she reads but it soon becomes cle...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Please Combine: The Year of The Book 3 13 Jan 21, 2014 10:25AM  
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197573
Andrea Cheng is a Hungarian-American children's author and illustrator. The child of Hungarian immigrants, she was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio in an extended family with three generations under one roof. Her family spoke Hungarian and English at home. After graduating with a BA in English from Cornell University, she went to Switzerland, where she apprenticed to a bookbinder, attended a school of b...more
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“Hey, can you teach me the word for friend that you wrote on my card?"

"Peng you," I say.

"Peng you," she says, only instead of pung yo, it sounds like penguin. "Shee shee for being my penguin," she says.”
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