In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson

by Bette Bao Lord | Children's Books |
ISBN: 0064401758 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 1/17/2019
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Thursday, January 17, 2019
I got this little paperback from Better World Books, for another release copy.

This was a very enjoyable book - I wish it had been around when I was in grade school! Sixth Cousin, aka Bandit, is a young Chinese girl who enjoys life in her extended family's home, despite the strict protocols everyone must follow. But when her father, who's been working in the US, informs the family that his wife and daughter must join him there, Bandit's life changes completely.

There are tons of intriguing cultural notes in these early pages, describing life in a traditional family post-WWII, with such tantalizing touches as the fact that "Bandit" doesn't have an official name yet; upon the news of her departure to her new home, she's allowed to choose one, and she opts for "an American name" - but her first choice, the first American name she can think of, is "Uncle Sam," and her family suggests she find something else. So she becomes "Shirley Temple Wong", and steps into a new world...

I loved the mix of fish-out-of-water and brave-girl-in-a-new-world; the challenge of starting school in a place whose language and customs are completely alien must be immense, and while she does struggle with loneliness and miscommunication she remains very brave. When she eventually makes a friend, it's in dramatic fashion via a facedown battle with Mabel, the tough girl who leads the stickball team - resulting in two black eyes for Shirley, who gains Mabel's trust when she refuses to tell on her! (Modern-day values-dissonance occurs here, though in context it's clear that Mabel isn't out to bully our heroine - her team lost a game because of Shirley's accidental intrusion, and it was a frustrated outburst. But there have been so many instances of male heroes bonding after one beats the other up, I admit I was rather pleased to see a distaff version here {wry grin}.)

The book touches on the stresses of trying to live two different cultures at once, and with the more common ones of trying to make friends and navigate ordinary social situations. It's funny and charming, all the more so once Shirley is introduced to baseball and promptly becomes an ardent Dodgers fan, and includes little scenes that are just perfect: Shirley and new friend Emily studying anatomy pictures, for example, reminding me of my discovery (at roughly the same age that Shirley is here) of the anatomy illustrations in our Encyclopedia Britannica. And the book includes a real treat for Shirley at the very end, one that got me a bit misty...

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Little Free Library, 4 Lake St in Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Released 4 mos ago (1/22/2019 UTC) at Little Free Library, 4 Lake St in Nashua, New Hampshire USA

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

I left this book in the Little Free Library; hope someone enjoys it!

[See other recent releases in NH here.]

*** Released for the 2019 Asian Zodiac - Year of the Boar release challenge. ***

*** Released for the 2019 Clean Start for the New Year release challenge. ***

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