I just finished In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson written by Bette Bao Lord. I read most of it in less than a day and the last chapter took me 3 days. Again - there's a lot to do! I often read excerpts to Greg because I'm laughing out loud, or I respond verbally without really knowing I'm doing it. So I have to TELL him what's going on so I don't appear too crazy!
Narrated in third person, a fifth grade girl comes from China to the United States and is introduced to a WHOLE NEW WOOOOORLD. (I just sang it like Aladdin.) She gets to pick her own American name which was a toss up between Uncle Sam and Shirley Temple. Her family agrees to Shirley Temple Wong. She goes through bouts of loneliness, not fitting in, stuck between to cultures two finally embracing the best of both worlds!
I love this book because I can TOTALLY relate!! In her process of English acquisition, she picks words and phrases up the way she hears them - which is HILARIOUS!! (I'll let you find out for yourself rather than tell you what it is she said.) I love that her mom, just like mine, tells her that she has to keep up with her native language and that she makes her take piano lessons!
And I also LOVE that Bette Bao Lord wrote in some GREAT PATRIOTISM which is often lacking in today's world with so much politicking. And that this Chinese little girl makes the best of friends over baseball and the love of Jackie Robinson!
Here's a little taste!
"'I mean, is there something special about baseball that fits the special kind of people we are and the special kind of country America is?' Mrs. Rappaport tilted her head to one side, inviting a response. When none came, she sighed a sigh so fraught with disappointment that it sounded as if her heart were breaking...
But within the frail, birdlike body of Mrs. Rappaport was the spirit of a dragon capable of tackling the heavens and earth. With a quick toss of her red hair, she proceeded to answer her own question with such feeling that no one who heard could be so unkind as to forget. Least of all Shirley...
'In our national pastime, each player is a member of a team, but when he comes to bat, he stands alone. One man. Many opportunities. For no matter how far behind, how late in the game, he, by himself, can make a difference. He can change what has been. He can make it a new ball game.
'In the life of our nation, each man is a citizen of the United States, but he has the right to pursue his own happiness. For no matter what his race, religion or creed, be he a pauper or president, he has the right to speak his mind, to live as he wishes within the law, to elect our officials and stand for office, to excel. To make a difference. To change what has been. To make a better America.
'And so can you! And so must you!'"
Doesn't that make you stand a little taller. I can only imagine this fifth grade Chinese girl taking in a deep breath and saying - "I'm an American!"
It's a wonderful book! If you have an opportunity to check it out from your local library or purchase it from Scholastic or Amazon - DO IT! It's a great read!