Monday, May 5, 2008

The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin

My nearly 8 year old and I read this book together, every other page. We LOVED it. Pacy, also known as Grace, is a Tiawanese-American. It's not easy to be the only "different" one at school, and during the Year of the Dog, Grace not only finally finds a best friend, but she learns a lot about herself and what she might like to do when she grows up.

I thought this book was so cleverly written - you are enmeshed in their culture, learning about the things they eat, the holidays they celebrate, and their traditions - but the story is incredibly accessible. I especially loved the cartoon like drawings throughout, particularly those illustrating Taiwanese foods etc., because it made it easier for my daughter to visualize what we were reading about.

Probably my favorite aspect about the book was the "stories" told throughout the book to Grace by her parents. These tales always followed some sort of problem or issue the children were having, and the stories were of their ancestors (or parents) who dealt with a similar problem. These stories tied the children into their roots and their history, and made things feel manageable and even funny.

I can't think of one thing about this book that I didn't like. I highly recommend The Year of the Dog as an introduction to Taiwanese culture and as a fun, thoughtful read.


Tricia said...

I think I'll have to give this one a try for me and my nearly 8 year old. :)

Melissa said...

I got this one for C to read alone... she didn't really like it. Maybe if we had read it together? BTW, we're halfway through the 4th Sister's Grimm and it's much better, much tighter, much faster paced (still wordy, but not overly so). You could probably safely skip 2 and 3 and not miss them one bit.

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