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The Year of the Book
Cover of The Year of the Book
The Year of the Book
Anna Wang Series, Book 1
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In Chinese, peng you means friend. But in any language, all Anna knows for certain is that friendship is complicated. When Anna needs company, she turns to her books. Whether traveling through A...
In Chinese, peng you means friend. But in any language, all Anna knows for certain is that friendship is complicated. When Anna needs company, she turns to her books. Whether traveling through A...
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Description-

  • In Chinese, peng you means friend. But in any language, all Anna knows for certain is that friendship is complicated.

    When Anna needs company, she turns to her books. Whether traveling through A Wrinkle in Time, or peering over My Side of the Mountain, books provide what real life cannot—constant companionship and insight into her changing world. Books, however, can't tell Anna how to find a true friend. She'll have to discover that on her own. In the tradition of classics like Maud Hart Lovelace's Betsy-Tacy books and Eleanor Estes' One Hundred Dresses, this novel subtly explores what it takes to make friends and what it means to be one.

About the Author-

  • Andrea Cheng writes picture books, and middle grade and young adult novels, and teaches ESL and children's literature. She walks daily near her Ohio home. www.andreacheng.com
    Abigail Halpin is an illustrator and a graphic designer. Away from the drawing table, she knits, reads comic books, and plays the fiddle. She lives in New England. www.theodesign.com

Reviews-

  • DOGO Books felicisowl - Hi, and I hope you will enjoy my review of Year of the Book. I don't understand why people are saying sort of negative things about this book. For example, one person said the main character (Anna) was too serious. If you really catch the details, there are reasons why she is pretty serious. Besides, there are some really amazing characters like Marlin from Finding Nemo and Mulan who are serious but truly awesome. Maybe Anna doesn't live up to their standards, but she's still a really amazing character. Here is the plot: Anna Wang used to be best friends with Laura once upon a time. But now, Laura tends to hang out more with her new-found friends, Allison and Lucy, instead of Anna. Anna, instead, becomes friends with Ray, and even more so, her books. Anna's mom works for a man called Mr. Shepherd who is elderly and very kind, but pretty lonely ever since his wife passed away. Anna is embarrassed seen with her mom and her cleaning supplies. Anna is also embarrassed that her mom doesn't have perfect English, but she still loves her. I can relate to this because even though sometimes my mom does things that are embarrassing to me, I still love her. Anna goes to Chinese school to learn more Chinese (Anna only knows a few words) and meets a girl named Camille. Camille, like Anna's mom, is not yet quite over the language barrier and has an especially hard time with reading, but Camille is a kind and good friend. Anna slowly starts to reconcile with Laura. Laura comes to Anna whenever her best friend Allison is mean to her, like on Halloween, when Laura has a dispute with Allison about something, Anna and Laura go trick-and-treating together. Laura later has a sleepover with Anna when she has family problems. Even though Anna has troubles of her own, which are similar to mine, Laura's troubles are much worse in my opinion. Her dad is an angry man who throws things and shouts, and even though the family doesn't want him, he keeps coming back. Laura becomes best friends with Anna once again, even turning down an offer from Allison to 'be part of the popular crowd' once again. Happily ever after :) Pros + Cons + Grading Section: The ending was amazing, in my opinion, pretty perfect, but not going to spoil it. The artwork is very quirky and very cute (the drawings done by Abigail Halpin). I love that this book is relatable. I often had to pause now and then and say, "Wow, I experienced that." or "Hey, I love that book!" I especially loved the character of Anna, who was basically my twin because I had similar friends and one of my friends is really like Laura. I also love reading and I like how awesome books have little "cameos" in the Year of the Book. (Totally get the title now.) A lot of the characters are three-dimensional, and basically it should be 5 stars. One thing I didn't like was that it was like Laura was using Anna at some parts. Like if Allison didn't invite Laura, then Anna was her second choice. It was almost like Anna was the third/fourth wheel, even when they were close. So it's 4.5 for me, but since 4.5 rounds to 5, I gave it a 5 :D ~FelicisOwl
  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 2, 2012
    Anna Wang, the narrator of this tender novel, isn’t having an easy time navigating fourth grade. Feeling left out when her friend Laura begins hanging out with another girl, Anna takes refuge in her beloved library books. She is proud of her Chinese-born mother, who is going to school to become a nurse, yet embarrassed by her mother’s imperfect English and her part-time housecleaning job. Trying to balance her cultural identities, Anna is also conflicted about attending Chinese school and learning that language. Cheng (Only One Year) credibly portrays Anna’s budding maturity, as she sets aside her resentment toward Laura and reaches out to her when her family hits a rough patch. Anna’s warm rapport with her supportive teacher, a cheerful crossing guard, and a kind widower add emotional depth. Though Anna’s musings can grow repetitious, the novel offers a well-rounded portrait of a sympathetic girl and her burgeoning sense of self. Halpin’s (The Grand Plan to Fix Everything) tidy halftone pictures help flesh out Anna’s world. Ages 6–9. Agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. Illustrator’s agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Literary Management.

  • School Library Journal

    May 1, 2012

    Gr 4-6-There is nothing quiet and self-conscious Anna Wong would rather do than lose herself in a book. Cheng weaves a simple story of how the child's inner world, built around the pages of books, shifts outward to include her family, a kind crossing guard, a widower, and a beloved teacher. Most of all, Anna gradually learns to open her heart to the joys and challenges of friendship. The writing is gentle and engaging. Cheng gives readers glimpses into the heart of a girl without the allure of action or adventure. The story doesn't need them. Readers are led to discover the extraordinary within the ordinary, and to witness how kindness can draw trust and create confidence in a hesitant child. Dialogue is natural and uncontrived. Details of Chinese culture are interwoven throughout the story. Anna's mother works hard to acquire English-language skills, learn to drive, hold down a job, and give her children the opportunity to learn Chinese. Her struggles contrast with those of her American-born Chinese husband. Anna's friend's sad tale of family breakdown is also a part of the story, and children experiencing similar difficulties will relate to Laura's grief and fear. Anna creates hand-sewn lunch bags, and she and Laura make bags for all the people who are special to them. (Instructions are on the book jacket.) Readers will not find chills and thrills in this book, but they will discover the value of empathy and compassion, and the rewards of tolerance and friendship.-Corrina Austin, Locke's Public School, St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada

    Copyright 2012 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    HMH Books
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