Andrea Cheng has been busy the past two years writing the first two books in a series for middle-age readers called The Year of the Book and The Year of the Baby. Anna Wang, a young ABC (American Born Chinese) girl, tells us the story of her life in the series.
In The Year of the Book, Anna is in fourth grade, living with her mother, father, younger brother, Ken, going to Chinese School on weekends to learn Chinese and accompanying her mother to her cleaning job on Saturdays. Oh, and reading lots of books. Anna celebrates Thanksgiving, sews beautiful drawstring bags, makes paper airplanes with her brother, and learns what it means to be a friend, when her neighbor Laura's parents divorce. It's a delightful book, full of fourth-grade doings and mother-daughter angst.
The Wangs adopt a baby girl from China in The Year of the Baby. Little Kaylee becomes part of Anna's fifth grade science project. Friends Camille and Laura join in to help Kaylee adjust to life in America and learn to eat.
The bright illustrations by Abigail Halpin and Patrice Barton are lovely and comical.
Length: 146 pages and 162 pages
Worth Your Time? Yes. For middle readers and up. My 13-year-old daughter (who's a bit above the middle-reader age) and I both enjoyed Cheng's books.
Bonus: Anna travels to China with her teacher in The Year of the Fortune Cookies, due out in early 2014.