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In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  4,129 Ratings  ·  314 Reviews
Shirley Temple Wong sails from China to America with a heart full of dreams.Her new home is Brooklyn, New York. America is indeed a land full of wonders, but Shirley doesn't know any English, so it's hard to make friends. Then a miracle-baseball-happens. It is 1947, and Jackie Robinson, star of the Brooklyn Dodgers, is everyone's hero. Jackie Robinson is proving that a bla ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published September 2nd 2003 by HarperCollins (first published October 1st 1984)
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In Betty Bao Lord's autobiographical In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson, we meet Shirley Temple Wong who has just emigrated from China to Brooklyn, New York. It is 1947 and 10 year Shirley has come to the United States at a time when there is opportunity for all Americans. And no American represented the American Dream more than Jackie Robinson, star second baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Before Shirley discovered baseball; however, she was an outcast amongst her peers because she str
Jan 08, 2009 Tara rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite books to share with my fourth grade students. There are so many mini lessons that can be taught that I have to pick and choose carefully in order to keep from spending too much time on it! It helps my students relate to my non-English speakers and the ones who are just beginning to grasp the language. I use it to teach idioms, similes, and metaphors. We discuss dealing with bullies while also discussing the rich vocabulary within the text. Plus, my students laugh out l ...more
Apr 11, 2012 Jewell rated it it was amazing
All American children should read this lovely book about the journey of Shirley Temple Wong to her American home. At first she cannot speak English to the other children in the school, and she is unhappy and deeply lost. She finds solace in listening to baseball on the radio, when Jackie Robinson played for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Baseball not only helps Shirley get a grip on America soil, but also serves as a great metaphor. In China, rules and hierarchies and traditions are set in stone. In Amer ...more
Jonathan Peto
Dec 18, 2015 Jonathan Peto rated it really liked it
This story chronicles an immigrant experience during the mid-1940s. A Chinese girl changes her name to Shirley Temple Wong when she learns that she and her mother will join her engineer father in multicultural Brooklyn, New York. She arrives with lots of enthusiasm and no English language skills.

The description is beautiful. I read this aloud to a class of fourth graders and was amazed how often I could highlight the author’s use of figurative language, though I only did it occasionally of cours
Jubilation Lee
In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson is the perfect example of Why I Don’t Reread Childhood Favorites, because had you asked me yesterday what I thought of this book, I’d have been all, “OMG it’s adorable!! It’s all baseball and friendship and Bandit is so funny!!!

And if you asked me today I’d be like, “Meh. It would probably be enjoyed by younger readers, but it seems a little dated, and I was depressed that Jackie Robinson is so confident that a woman will be elected president and it
Mar 29, 2008 Katie rated it really liked it
It's a nice little book about immigrant life, although it lightens up many of the tough subjects maybe a little too much. Nonetheless, the issues are included--losing native language, mixing the old culture with the new, not communicating in the same ways and drifting away from parents' expectations of how the kid should be. It's a great read for kids. My students even clapped when we finished. Aww.
Jul 10, 2009 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book when I was a kid. I think I must have read it five or six times. A recent immigrant, Shirley Temple Wong reminds me of Francie Nolan from A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. Both characters are somewhat naive and get bullied by the other kids when they try to fit in. It's a remarkably poignant book.
Laura Harrison
Jun 17, 2016 Laura Harrison rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite middle grade readers. Just lovely.
Dec 19, 2007 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
I could have sworn I'd written a review for this book already.

(Edit: Oh, I did write a review for the book, back when there was no cover attached. Here it is, with my re-review below it:

Ugh, why is there no cover photo for this book?

This is one of the few Asian-American YA books I've read, but even if that was a thriving genre, I've no doubt this would be one of the best.

It's the story of a young Chinese girl (around ten, I think) who moves with her parents from China to Brooklyn in 1947 (the
Apr 25, 2010 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
We've been listening to this in the car on the way to school in the mornings. I loved this story. For Shirley Temple Wong (love the name) it was a big shock to go from a fairly well-to-do Chinese household to Brooklyn and find herself less well-to-do and alone. I loved the mixture of confidence and uncertainty with which she approaches her new life. I also liked the progression from how new and inexperienced she felt to finding a friend and becoming a true American baseball fan. Wonderful story.
Feb 08, 2011 Irene rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Americans and especially Chinese-Americans
Shelves: children
A wonderful story and beautifully written. Though obviously a children's book, In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson does not use heavy-handed tactics to get points across. Bette Bao Lord describes Chinese customs and Shirley's reactions to American ways with subtlety and gravitas. The ending was perfect and poignant, and it moved me to tears.

Every Chinese-American should read this book to get a sense of where they and their ancestors came from. Every American should read this book to bett
Mar 21, 2008 Maria rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult-f-m
I first read this book as a school assignment in elementary school. So long ago in fact that the cover price reads $2.95 and the glue in the binding is so old that pages fall out as I turn them. But although the book itself has not healed up, the story has. Set in 1947 it is a charming story of young Chinese girl coming to America and what the transition is like. Some of the language made me uncomfortable at first because it sounded so stereotypical. I checked the author to make sure it wasn't s ...more
May 20, 2012 Sky rated it liked it
How would you feel if you arrived in a new country where you hardly spoke their language, and had trouble fitting in? Scared? Nervous? Excited? Bette Bao Lord writes part of her childhood in Shirley Temple Wong, an immigrant girl who came with her mother to the U.S.A. for a new life, to join her father.

Meeting new friend, facing new challenges, the world is opened in front of Shirley, and then someone comes into her life -- Jackie Robinson, a black player for the Dodgers. Soon she comes to admi
Jun 16, 2016 Alycia rated it it was amazing
Definitely one of my favorite books of all time. It has it all-immigration, Brooklyn, history, baseball, cultures clashing and immersing, and great descriptions of food. I have read it at least 20 times and just found a free copy at the library to take home.
Jul 24, 2014 Paul rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
Perfectly paced, these twelve chapters serve as corresponding months of the calendar year beginning from Chinese New Year and represent children's literature at its best and brightest through the ten-year-old eyes of Bandit or Shirley Temple Wong as she experiences the challenges, the difficulties, the surprises and triumphs of living the American dream in Beautiful Country (Mei Guo). To double happiness and hardworking immigrants and more opportunities. "The harvest is in and we are all togethe ...more
Sandra J.
May 02, 2016 Sandra J. rated it it was amazing
I truly enjoyed reading this book. Although the book takes place in previous years, children now can relate. This book can be very helpful for students who just arrived to the US or students who seem not to find themselves in a new world. It has to do with a Chinese immigrant but someone from Mexico or Syria can certainly relate. Shirley is taken away from her home to a new one where she needs to figure out her own identity in a whole new world. Shirley struggles with making friends and going to ...more
Kim Miller-Davis
Feb 10, 2015 Kim Miller-Davis rated it really liked it
This story centers around a school-aged Chinese girl, Shirley Temple Wong, who immigrates to Brooklyn in 1947. Her initial assimilation struggles are shadowed by Jackie Robinson's emergence as a hero for Dodger's fans, and a symbol for all that is good about America. Because the story is simple (and, in all honesty, a little too "candy-coated"), it is a good starting point for introducing 3-5th graders to issues of immigration, race, and culture. I read it to my sons during a unit on China so th ...more
Sep 19, 2015 Amy rated it liked it
Shelves: china, young-adult
Here is another book with a horrible title. I never would have read this book in 3-5th grade based on the name. Who would want to read a book about a boar? But it would have been a perfect book for me to read around the same time as the All of a Kind family series. About life in New York with immigrants - so you can learn something about another culture.

There were many interesting references to Chinese culture - but I felt like some of them were just mentioned, so that if you didn't already kno
Alex Baugh
Jan 03, 2014 Alex Baugh rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-war-2
It is the Year of the Dog (1946), the war is over and China is no longer an occupied country. In Chungking (now Chonqing), members of the House of Wong are preparing to celebrate Chinese New Year when a letter arrives from Brooklyn, NY that will change the life of Sixth Cousin AKA Bandit and her mother forever.

And so as the Year of the Dog became the Year of the Boar (1947), Sixth Cousin Bandit beomes Shirley Temple Wong and soon she and her mother were sailing off to their new life. Arriving in
Marissa Morrison
Jan 06, 2016 Marissa Morrison rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s
Delightful book about pursuing the American dream. A 10-year-old Chinese girl moves to Brooklyn, after getting her grandfather to rename her Shirley Temple. Shirley learns English (initially by memorizing a Disney record and talking like Donald Duck), eventually makes friends and plays stoop games, and gets chosen to welcome her hero Jackie Robinson to a school assembly.
Jul 25, 2014 Elaine rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-books
We listened to this as an audio book, and we all enjoyed it. I had to stop and explain a bunch of stuff to the kids as we went, but that's a great way to learn! There was humor and surprise mixed in to this moving portrayal of a young girl and her parents immigrating to America. It really showed the hardships that people face as they leave their families and country behind, starting a new life that is supposed to be better, but has so many of its own challenges. I really liked how so many Chines ...more
Nov 12, 2014 Luke rated it it was amazing
In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson is a children's book, but I was looking at one of our family's bookshelves in our basement and I found this book and read it. It is so great! I love this book because Shirley Temple Wong (the main character) is funny, friendly, and charming. Even though she tries desperately to make friends at her new school in America, it just never works out right for her. But soon she makes a few friends and Shirley discovers baseball. Baseball becomes Shirley's lif ...more
Jun 29, 2014 Ke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In around 1940s, a Chinese girl and the girl's mother join the girl's father in Brooklyn. This book tells the story of her first year in the U.S.

Personally, I have a soft spot for this story because I also came from China to the West around the girl's age. I could relate to the girl's experiences about attending a school where she knew little of the native language. That said, I thought that the story tried too hard to be racially and ethnically diverse (some characters seemed to come out of a S
Sep 04, 2016 Debra rated it it was amazing
Really great book for about 4th- 6th graders to learn empathy for strangers and to learn not to bully.
Christine Boyer
May 21, 2012 Christine Boyer rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: 4-6 grade teachers/students.
Recommended to Christine by: Other teachers.
This is the third time I've done this book with my students. Great plot, and lots of good themes to discuss: courage, fitting-in, cultural differences, immigration, friendship, loyalty, etc. It also allows for some great projects including Chinese New Year, Chinese horoscope, researching Jackie Robinson and his groundbreaking presence on the Brooklyn Dodgers, and even introducing Shirley Temple! The book takes place in 1947, so we also did a compare/contrast with the America that immigrants came ...more

I first read this book for school when I was in the 5th grade and I remember it being one of my absolute favorites. And while I never read it again after that until now, and while I didn't remember anything about this book until I just re-read it, I remember the emotions I felt towards this book.

I connect with the main character, Shirley, so much because of her culture and lack of awareness of American culture. While I'm not a first generation Asian American immigrant, I still felt like I
Jan 07, 2016 Michelle rated it really liked it
This is a very cute little book chronicling a year in the life of a young Chinese immigrant girl. Absolutely worth a read for children of all ages. No problem for independent readers or can be used as a read-aloud. There are some minor issues that may be sensitive for others, or that a parent may need to discuss with their children, the biggest of which is some slightly race-centered name calling and teasing by other children in the story (making fun of "funny accents" and mild stereotyping rega ...more
Anne Hennessey
Shirley is a young girl who lives in China with her family. Shirley’s father has been living in America for almost a year when he writes to her mother to tell her that she and Shirley can finally join him in his new home. Shirley cannot believe how different America is than her home country and she struggles to fit in. Then one day Shirley gets in a fight with the biggest girl in school, but instead of telling on her, Shirley keeps the secret. From then on the two girls are great friends and Shi ...more
In 1947 (or the Year of the Boar), ten-year-old Bandit is excited to learn that her father has sent for her and her mother to leave China and join him in Brooklyn. To celebrate, Bandit decides she would like an American name and chooses to be known now as Shirley Temple Wong.

It’s been one year since Shirley’s father set out for America and now they are all finally together. But life isn’t easy for Shirley since everything is different and new and she doesn’t speak English. She’s ignored by her c
Mrs. Reed
Sep 13, 2014 Mrs. Reed rated it liked it
This is one of those books that has been lurking in the back of my many classroom libraries for most of the classrooms I've taught in over the past decade. I decided to pick it up because it looked like it might be cute, and it was.

It was a sweet look at the immigrant experience as it looks at a year in the life of a girl as she comes to Brooklyn from China during Jackie Robinson's rookie season. I'm going to guess it's largely autobiographical, based on the tiny bit I've read about Bette Bao Lo
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Bette Bao Lord is a Chinese American writer and civic activist for human rights and democracy.

With her mother and father, Dora and Sandys Bao, she came to the United States at the age of eight when her father, a British-trained engineer, was sent there in 1946 by the Chinese government to purchase equipment. In 1949 Bette Bao Lord and her family were stranded in the United States when Mao Zedong
More about Bette Bao Lord...

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“I pledge allegiance to the frog of the United States of America and to the wee public for witches hands one Asian, under God, in the vestibule with little tea and just rice for all.” 11 likes
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