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The Year of the Book (Anna Wang #1)

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  1,793 ratings  ·  314 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 t ...more
ebook, 160 pages
Published May 22nd 2012 by Harcourt Brace and Company (first published January 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
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
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
Mar 01, 2015 Irene rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Elementary School Kids, Especially Asian-American Kids and Introverts
Shelves: children
I picked up this book from the library because I noticed the author's Chinese last name and also the Asian-American girl in the cover illustration. I'm always on the lookout for more diverse children's books, especially books by and about Asian-Americans, since I am Asian-American myself. As it turns out, the author is not Chinese! But presumably her husband is.

Despite not being Chinese herself, I think the author did a fine job portraying the realities of growing up Chinese in America. She mak
This is a sweet, quick read. I enjoyed it, although I felt like more needed to happen. I don't think I will remember much of this book for very long. There are lots of fun literary references though!

This reminded me a bit of Project Mulberry by Linda Sue Park.
This book was very very good. It is definitely in my top 3 books that we have read for the parent/child book club at our beloved APL. I like the the author's writing style, it kept my interest and was simple while being profound at the same time. I also thought it was an excellent illustrations about what 4th grade is really like, especially for kids who are in grade school today. So many parts of this book made me think of my 4th grade daughter's real experiences every day. The friends who are ...more
I love books about books...about kids who love to read. This book is written for a fourth-grade audience, but I liked it just the same. The protagonist is a book-o-phile who even hates to go to school because it cuts down on her reading time. Socially, she doesn't fit in...go figure.

Here's a snippet from an Amazon reviewer: (More like a BLIPPET!)
My only criticism (and it is mild) is that some of the books Anna reads are a bit sophisticated for the intended audience of THE YEAR OF THE BOOK. Even
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
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
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
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
Harun Harahap
Dulu janjian sama Kak Mia Bali untuk baca buku ini. Baru sempat dibaca sekarang. Menyenangkan baca buku 'middle grade' lagi setelah sekian lama tidak.

Buku ini seperti diari Anna Wang, apa yang dilakukannya dan bersama siapa. Tidak ada yang terlalu istimewa dengan ceritanya. Namun, penulis bisa menarasikannya dengan baik. Sehingga kita bisa membacanya dengan mulus tanpa bosan.
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 Children
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
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
Medeia Sharif
Anna does not seem to have a lot in common with the other girls in school. Her mother is a housekeeper, which she doesn’t openly talk about. She goes to a Chinese language school during the weekends. Also, she just lost her friend, Laura, to a mean girls clique. She dives into reading—books are entertainment and information, and they stave off the loneliness.

When Laura is going through a horrible time with family, Anna becomes closer to her. This is the part of the story I felt mixed about. I u
A sweet story the follows Anna, a quiet, Chinese-American, book-loving girl, through her 4th grade year. Interwoven are subplots and relationships with a group of girls at school, an elderly man, friends from Chinese school, the 4th grade teacher, and a kindly crossing guard. Anna turns to books as friends this year, as her school friends have been exclusive and not always kind, hence the title of the book. One friend, Laura, is going through a difficult time at home, which leads Anna and Laura ...more
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
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
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.
Dean Deters
Summary-What is this book about? I think that the story is abiut two little girls who are going to be best friends forever.And i also think that they will probubly go to school together.Anna Chage does not like lara because she is mean to Anna.But they became friends when their moms mete.And Anna felt a little weird because lara was her friend now.
Setting- The settting is mostly at Annas house.It is inportant to the stoy because most of the events happen at her house.
Character trats- Anna is a v
Kelly Hager
It's not a huge surprise that I love books about books, and this is a really sweet one.

Anna has a hard time fitting in, probably because she prefers to spend her time with books than with actual people. The books she loves help her to make sense of the world, and they always manage to make her feel better about her life.

Except the problem with books is that they can't really be her friends. And they can't help her figure out how to actually talk to people. Or to understand why her mom insists th
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.

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
Sasha Boersma
Excellent read for a shy 8-10 year old girl. The book is more a collection of vignettes of 9-year-old Anna's life over the course of the school year. She is quiet, introverted, loves her books and her alone tasks. Doesn't make friends easily and if anything, finds others intrusive of her hobbies (it's not that she doesn't like the other kids, she just has no patience for the way other girls socialize, preferring the company). I wish this book was around when I was a kid as this sort of heroine i ...more
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
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Goodreads Librari...: Please Combine: The Year of The Book 3 14 Jan 21, 2014 10:25AM  
  • Double Dog Dare
  • Lulu and the Duck in the Park
  • Marty McGuire
  • Twelve Kinds of Ice
  • Flying the Dragon
  • Sylvia & Aki
  • The Center of Everything
  • The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook
  • Kepler's Dream
  • The Wild Book
  • Melonhead
  • Waiting for the Magic
  • Mousenet
  • The Great Wall of Lucy Wu
  • Summer of the Gypsy Moths
  • Chained
  • Junonia
  • On the Road to Mr. Mineo's
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
More about Andrea Cheng...

Other Books in the Series

Anna Wang (4 books)
  • The Year of the Baby
  • The Year of the Fortune Cookie
  • The Year of the Three Sisters
Marika The Year of the Baby Etched in Clay: The Life of Dave, Enslaved Potter and Poet Only One Year The Year of the Fortune Cookie

Share This Book

“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.”
“She looks at Laura. Their eyes meet.” 0 likes
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