Tag Archive | Chinese American

Here? Now? THE SECRET BATTLE OF EVAN PAO starts at school! by Wendy Wan-Long Shang (MG book review)

book cover of The Secret Battle of Evan Pao / Wendy Wan-Long Shang.  Published by Scholastic Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Bad enough that they have to move across the country to get away from Dad’s financial scams, but in this little Virginia town stuck in its Civil War history, their Chinese family does stand out, even though their uncle has lived here a while.

Evan hopes that sixth grade will be okay, but the class bully lives across the street from their tiny rental house. Brady calls Covid-19 “the China virus” and asks if Evan will bring it to Battlefield Elementary School. Evan can sense that he really believes that – yikes!

Luckily, most kids in his class are nice, including Max who’s assigned as Evan’s buddy and explains Battlefield Day, Mrs. Norwood’s favorite activity, where everyone becomes a Civil War character in costume for an outside learning experience.

Each student in class brings in a family heirloom from the Civil War, except Evan, so Mrs. Norwood suggests that he choose a behind-the-scenes role, like scribe (boring). Evan’s sister says there were no Chinese in the American Civil War, but a little research shows that she’s wrong!

So while Brady can portray his noted sharpshooter ancestor, Evan can be a Chinese soldier in the Army of the Potomac – Mrs. Norwood’s final Battlefield Day before retiring should be quite memorable!

Other things in town are rumbling, like discussions on removing the Confederate soldier statue in front of the courthouse and the cute stray dog that Uncle and Evan find (maybe Mom will change her mind about ‘no dogs’!) and someone shooting at Evan’s house!

Evan tells most of the story, with chapters by his sister Celeste and friend Max, even Julia and Brady from his class providing additional viewpoints.

What’s something that’s “always been this way” about your town that you would change?
**kmm

Book info: The Secret Battle of Evan Pao / Wendy Wan-Long Shang. Scholastic Press, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Inspirations for A PATH TO THE WORLD: BECOMING YOU, edited by Lori Marie Carlson-Hijuelos (Nonfiction book review)

Book cover of A Path to the World: Becoming You / Lori Marie Carlson-Hijuelos, editor. Published by Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/ Simon & Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Why are you… you?
How do you become a better person?
What does it mean to be yourself?

These fundamental questions about being human are considered, argued, and partly answered in this collection of 30 essays by famous folks and new writers.

Trying and trying to replicate her mother’s dal recipe might help Geeta Kothari answer “If You Are What You Eat, Then What Am I?”

Valerie Gribben explains that “Practicing Medicine Can Be Grimm Work” as fairy tales gave her insight into the injuries and pains of her patients.

Retired businessman Freddy Schumann became the loudest person in Yankee Stadium and revitalized their fans in the late 1980s as “The Octogenarian Cheerleader” interviewed by Scott Pitoniak.

A 1790 letter from George Washington to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island notes that their new national government “gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance” and sends his appreciation for their welcome and support. (p.72)

KellyNoel Waldorf’s university experience was much different from her peers – “I Came to Duke With an Empty Wallet” and the effects of growing up poor still inform all her decisions.

Be sure to read Anna Quindlen’s advice “Get a Life” which concludes “All of us want to do well. But if we do not do good, too, then doing well will never be enough.” (p. 85)

What advice would you share on “becoming you”?
**kmm

Book info: A Path to the World: Becoming You / Lori Marie Carlson-Hijuelos, editor. Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/ Simon & Schuster, 2022. [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

T is 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT PINKY, sort of, maybe… by Sandhya Menon (YA book review)

book cover of 10 Things I Hate About Pinky, by Sandhya Menon, Published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Rebel-activist free spirit,
SAT ace in starched shirts –
all summer together?

She supports social causes of all types, he charts out his future law career list by list- Pinky and Samir are nothing alike. But when she’s accused of repeating rebellious behavior and his DC internship is cancelled, maybe he could pose as her new super-responsible boyfriend for the summer… if they don’t bite off each other’s heads!

Pinky’s mom and aunt co-own the lovely summer home on Cape Cod, with a lake that she and cousin Dolly-the-perfect have enjoyed for years with the other summer kids and the butterfly sanctuary that always gives Pinky peace.

Being Pinky’s summer boyfriend gets Samir closer to interning with her mom’s Bay Area corporate law firm and tests his planning-ahead nature every day… walking a rescued fainting opossum on a leash….

Acting like Samir is really her boyfriend strains Pinky’s impetuous nature, but if they can fool her family so she’s not grounded for life, it’ll be worth it… if he can get past planning every moment like his mom was still fighting cancer.

When big-money threatens to bulldoze the butterfly sanctuary for condos, Pinky and Samir pitch in to rally the community against the developers – the clock is ticking!

Mom insists that the ‘summer kids’ have no place in town meetings, some year-rounders say the Indian-American teens aren’t welcome anywhere, but Pinky says they should keep fighting… right, Samir?

Told in alternating voices by Pinky and Samir, this frenemies-to-something-more story is a companion book to When Dimple Met Rishi (I recommend here) and There’s Something About Sweetie (reviewed here).

What’s the cause you’ll stand up for, time after time?
**kmm

Book Info: 10 Things I Hate About Pinky / Sandhya Menon. Simon Pulse, 2020. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

A is for ANA ON THE EDGE, by A.J. Sass (MG book review)

book cover of Ana on the Edge, by A. J. Sass. Published by Little, Brown | BooksYALove.com

Figure skating competition = rules and regimens.
Chinese-American home = expectations and routine roles.
Can time on the ice become Ana’s freedom and focus?

Age 12 means moving up to the next figure skating competition level for Ana and also following her coach to a new Bay Area rink, with new choreography and music and routine.

Ana likes her short hair, sleek skating leggings, and bold Juvenile national championship choreography. But Intermediate ladies will be skating to a princess theme, and Ana doesn’t like the quiet music or boring moves that famous Miss Lydia has chosen or having to wear a skirt to practice or the huge bill that her single mom must pay!

As a skating rink assistant this summer, Ana can earn free practice hours – too bad she has to miss being with her best friend at her old rink and at their synagogue. Awesome that she meets new student Hayden, who just moved here and is now publicly identifying as a boy.

Hayden assumed Ana was a boy too, and she didn’t correct him. Will he get mad when he finds out?

Ana feels very in-between about girl or boy – what does that all mean?

And this new choreography and music… how can Ana make it more Ana?

Discovering who you are takes time and work – Ana may have the people nearby who will help!
**kmm

Book info: Ana On the Edge / A. J. Sass. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2020. [author site] [author interview] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

No way! LUPE WONG WON’T DANCE, by Donna Barba Higuera (book review)

book cover of Lupe Wong Won't Dance, by Donna Barba Higuera. Published by Levine Querido | recommended on BooksYALove.com

PE equals sports.
How is square dancing a sport?!

Lupe wants to become a major league pitcher, so meeting the MLB’s first Asian/Latino pitcher in Seattle will be a dream come true – IF she can ace all her middle school classes.

Getting an A in PE should be easy for the Chinese-Mexican athlete, until Coach announces square dancing and a public performance!

Unhygenic hand-holding, only boys can choose their partner, questionable song lyrics – every objection that Lupe brings up to the principal is met with modifications to their lessons, meaning less time to learn the dance and be chosen to perform and earn that A… her classmates aren’t happy with her.

Advice from her Mexican-American grandmother and Chinese-American grandparents, the voice of experience from big brother, the memory of her late father… she’s just gotta try.

Doctor Who nights with autistic best friend Niles get cancelled, best friend Andy’s mom adds soccer to her overloaded schedule, and Lupe even gets the cold shoulder from her baseball team.

When her assigned partner is injured, Lupe has to dance alone! Now how can she be chosen for the performance and earn her A in PE?

Happy book birthday this week to this strong young woman and her cadre of friends!

When have you bucked tradition for what is right?
**kmm

Book info: Lupe Wong Won’t Dance / Donna Barba Higuera. Levine Querido, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

More than meets the eye – read with your ears & AudioSYNC!

Thursday equals a pair of related new titles in the AudioSYNC program, both free for you to download before Wednesday night, 13 May 2020.

For each audioSYNC book you choose, be sure to hit ‘Borrow’ on the Sora app (downloaded on your phone or tablet). Then it will be checked out to you for 35,996 days or 100 years – enough time to listen to all 26 selections of summer 2020!

CD cover of Secret Soldiers: How the US Twenty-Third Special Troops Fooled the Nazis, by Paul B. Janeczko, Read by Ron Butler.  Published by Brilliance Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Secret Soldiers: How the US Twenty-Third Special Troops Fooled the Nazis (info here)

by Paul B. Janeczko | Read by Ron Butler | Published by Brilliance Audio

Sound effects, inflatable war machines, pyrotechnics, and camouflage – the U.S. “Ghost Army” made up of actors, set designers, audio specialists, and painters fooled German forces during World War II.

Their 20 missions made the Nazis see and hear non-existent troop maneuvers from the Normandy invasion to crossing the Rhine, ensuring Allied victory.

CD cover of Picture Us in the Light, by Kelly Loy Gilbert, Read by James Chen.  Published by Dreamscape | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Picture Us in the Light (info here)

by Kelly Loy Gilbert | Read by James Chen | Published by Dreamscape

A year after his close-knit group of friends ruptures, Danny worries about his future as an artist after high school. When the California teen discovers a box of secrets in Dad’s closet, everything his immigrant family has told him comes into question, too.

How do we camouflage our true intentions from others?
**kmm

J is for Jo, THE DOWNSTAIRS GIRL, listening, learning, yearning, by Stacey Lee (book review)

book cover of The Downstairs Girl, by Stacey Lee. Published by G. P. Putnam & Sons | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A new advice column to save the newspaper,
a new job to feed them,
a horse race to save them from a criminal!

Living secretly in a forgotten basement, 17-year-old Jo and her grandfather frugally manage on their small income while conversations drift down from the newspaper office above. Being Chinese means daily discrimination, even when carefully staying in society’s shadows.

Her grandfather is a legendary horse trainer, but when he’s injured, Jo must become lady’s maid to cruel debutante Caroline whose wealthy father controls much of 1880s Atlanta.

Like her black friends, Jo is expected to be neither seen nor heard, forced to the back of the horse-drawn trolley, shut out of most jobs.

But Jo must become bold to get medical treatment for her grandfather, to seize the role of advice columnist Miss Sweetie for the newspaper, to discover the tiniest clue about her parents and why they left her.

How many times can Caroline sneak away before the teen’s mother suspects and fires Jo for obeying her orders?

How often can Jo appear at the newspaper office as veiled Miss Sweetie before its young editor recognizes her voice?

How can she get grandfather’s cure from a notorious criminal with so little money in hand?

If Jo can dare to give advice to white society, perhaps she can dare to ride in a horse race as no woman ever has!

+++++
Before reading The Downstairs Girl, I didn’t know that Chinese workers were brought into the South during Reconstruction to replace slaves. No surprise that so many ran away from plantations to cities like Atlanta and Augusta.

What other under-told stories are you finding as you read these days?
**kmm

Book info: The Downstairs Girl / Stacey Lee. G.P. Putnam & Sons, 2019. [author Facebook] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Creatures of legend meet today’s teens – in audiobooks!

When young adults encounter supernatural beings – in society or in their mirror – it’s a bit difficult to worry about everyday stuff like school or who likes who, especially when the world’s safety is at stake!

Remember that you can download these complete audiobooks free during the Thursday-Wednesday timeslot by clicking on the title and following the AudioSYNC instructions.

CD cover of Epic Crush of Genie Lo,  by F.C. Yee | Read by Nancy Wu Published by Recorded Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, by F.C. Yee.

Read by Nancy Wu , Published by Recorded Books

When 16 year old Genie learns that she has supernatural powers and the new guy in class is really the ancient Monkey King, her quest for the perfect university admissions essay takes a back seat to fighting the evil besieging their town!

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CD cover of Shadow of the Fox,  by Julie Kagawa | Read by Joy Osmanski, Brian Nishii, Emily Woo Zeller Published by HarperAudio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Shadow of the Fox, by Julie Kagawa.

Read by Joy Osmanski, Brian Nishii, Emily Woo Zeller. Published by HarperAudio

One thousand years have passed in darkness, as wished through the great dragon. Now a new wish can be granted to the one holding the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers – can teenage Yumeko and the kitsune fox spirit save the world this time?

Which legendary creature would you choose to stand by your side in battle?
**kmm

Y is for THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL, by Maurene Goo (YA book review)

book cover of The Way You Make Me Feel, by Maurene Goo. Published by Farrar Strauss Giroux Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

School success is everything – or it’s not.
Being a laid-back parent is great for your kid – or it isn’t.
Friendship is worth working for – yes, yes it is.

A Carrie-style stunt at prom lands boundary-pushing Clara and goody-goody Rose together in the same summer job to pay back the school – no spa life in Tulum with Clara’s jetsetting influencer mom, no prestigious internship for Rose’s college applications.

Yep, two not-friends working in a food truck for the entire sweltering LA summer, cooking the Korean-Brazilian fusion food that’s made Clara’s dad legendary – no time for screw-ups or bickering when the lunch rush is on.

Can jokester Clara please her Korean cool-dad enough to get time off and visit her Brazilian influencer mom in paradise?

Can by-the-rules Rose squeeze in dance practices around the full KoBra truck schedule and meet the very high expectations of her African American parents?

Can Hamlet’s homesickness for Beijing and love for California stop tugging at him long enough for him to get Clara to go out with him?

This summer before their senior year will be anything but boring!

Out next week in paperback! From the author of I Believe In a Thing Called Love (which I loved & recommended here).

Best-planned prank that you never pulled?
**kmm

Book info: The Way You Make Me Feel / Maurene Goo. Farrar Strauss Giroux Books for Young Readers, hardcover 2018, paperback 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Her parents’ dreams or hers? American Panda, by Gloria Chao (book review)

book cover of American Panda by Gloria Chao, published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.comGraduate from best college for prestigious career,
Marry the right person, have many sons…
why is everything already set in stone?

Mei’s parents don’t understand that she wants some traditions of Taiwan and some of America, that she will survive if she doesn’t follow their exacting standards. But what if they disown her, as they cut off all contact with her brother?

Read the first chapter here for free (thank you, Bustle!) to get into Mei’s world, the world of her demanding parents that will stifle her own dreams.

When to break free of the “correct” path?
**kmm

Book info: American Panda / Gloria Chao. Simon Pulse, 2018. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: The path meticulously mapped-out by her Taiwanese-American parents has led Mei to MIT, but the 17 year old now must decide how far from their dreams she can venture in search of what she truly wants.

She uses hand sanitizer constantly, the mere idea of cadavers makes her squeamish, and biology class bores her – why do her parents insist that she must become a doctor?

When older brother Xing announced his engagement, Baba and Mama disowned him because Esther might not be able to give them grandsons, completely erased him from their lives – how can Mei tell them she’s dating a Japanese-American guy from California?

Dancing set her apart from other Asian students applying to MIT, so her parents allowed it just until her acceptance letter arrived – why can’t she tell them what joy it brings her and that she’s teaching dance classes on weekends?

Fast-tracked to college by her parents’ demands, Mei never dated in high school, never chose her own path – maybe with Darren’s support and affection, she can break away from their rigidly traditional expectations without breaking herself.