Beth's Reviews > The Year of the Dog

The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin
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Mar 13, 12

Read in March, 2012

This was a nice, upbeat little chapter book for children about growing up Chinese-American. The author pointed out that there wasn't a lot of books from that perspective, and she's right -- this book teaches a bit about culture without being too difficult, foreign, or mature to relate to. In fact, Logan picked up this book before I did (I checked it out for myself since I enjoyed Where the Mountain Meets the Moon ... but Logan got to it first and read it in an evening!) He reported that his favorite part was when Grace wrote the book for the contest.

I liked that part, too, and I also liked the Chinese traditions intermingled with American life: their Thanksgiving spread was especially fun to read about, as was the M&Ms on the Chinese tray. Probably the most touching scene for me, though, was when Grace met the "mean" Taiwanese-American girl who called her a "Twinkie" -- yellow on the outside but white on the inside. The "mean girl" hinted that her parents were the ones who had taught her to speak Chinese on the grounds that she remain "cultured." Made me want to ensure that, as a parent, I do my best to instill values in my kids without insinuating that other kids who don't share our values aren't looked down on. (How do you do that? It's tough.)

This is a quick read to share with your elementary school child. The themes are well thought-out and the characters are great; Grace is just as endearing as Ramona and I loved that the experiences were based on the author's own childhood.
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