The Year of the Dog (A Pacy Lin Novel)

by Grace Lin

Hardcover, 2006

Status

Available

Local notes

Fic Lin

Collection

Series

Publication

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (2006), 134 pages

Description

Frustrated at her seeming lack of talent for anything, a young Taiwanese American girl sets out to apply the lessons of the Chinese Year of the Dog, those of making best friends and finding oneself, to her own life.

Original language

English

Original publication date

2007

Physical description

134 p.; 5.5 inches

ISBN

0316060003 / 9780316060004

Barcode

334

User reviews

LibraryThing member shelf-employed
The Year of the Dog is a short chapter book for younger J readers. Loosely autobiographical, Lin tells the story of one year in Pacy (Grace, to her schoolmates) Lin's life, the Chinese Year of the Dog. Lin's year begins appropriately on the Chinese New Year holiday, the lucky year of the dog. And indeed, the years begins with luck as another Chinese American girl moves into Pacy's upstate New York neighborhood, and the two girls become fast friends.

At first, I read the book waiting for the "big event," the problem moment, the other shoe to drop. But the other shoe doesn't drop; instead, the book is a largely upbeat and realistic look at the everyday issues facing a middle-school aged girl. There is one incident in which Pacy is called a "Twinkie," yellow on the outside/white on the inside, too American to be Chinese/too Chinese to be American. Even Pacy isn't sure if she should call herself Taiwanese or Chinese. It's confusing, but not overwhelming. By and large, the book is a positive look at the life of a young Taiwanese American with a loving family and a good friend. Sprinkled throughout are stories within a story; Grace's mother relates memories from her own childhood as a first generation immigrant. Also adding interest are Lin's numerous pen and ink sketches.

Interesting facts about Chinese culture are interspersed throughout the book and the reader will learn a great deal about life as a Chinese American. The melding of the two cultures is dealt with in a humorous manner. When Grace has a sharp pain in her neck, her mother tells her grandmother.

"'Ah,' Grandma nodded her head at me wisely, 'I know. I fix!'" Grandma takes out a silk box with paints and brush and paints Chinese characters on Grace's neck. "'Leave and tiger will chase pig,' she told me. 'Running will help neck.'"

Grandma has painted the Chinese characters for "tiger" and "pig" on the back of Grace's neck.

She later asks her mother, "'Will the paint come off? ... I don't want to go to school with 'pig' written on my neck!' 'I'm sure it will,' Mom said, 'but does your neck feel better?'"

She thinks for a moment. "'Well, yeah,' I nodded, 'it does!'"

The Lin's fill their New Year's candy bowl with Chinese candy mixed with M&Ms; and for Thanksgiving, Mom relents and cooks a small turkey to go alongside the glassy rice noodles, fried shrimp, and meaty dumplings.

The book concludes with a Reader's Guide (questions appropriate for a book discussion), and a sneak peek at the next book in the series, Year of the Rat (Jan 2008).
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LibraryThing member mikitchenlady
This is a semi-autobiographical account of Grace Lin's childhood experiences as a Chinese/Taiwanese American. It is bookended by the Chinese New Year celebrations, with the main focus of the book on the Year of the Dog, which is supposed to be where people find luck. Pacy/Grace wants to be rich and find her luck, and manages to find new friends and a future avocation. I enjoyed this story, especially the little side stories that were incorporated (like how the mother had her hair cut in school, or how they once ate dinner with ghosts). The side bar illustrations are a nice addition too.… (more)
LibraryThing member Somer
I wasn't as impressed with this book as I had hoped to be after hearing Grace Lin speak at a library conference last year. The book was entertaining, but it wasn't very exciting. I didn't feel any emotional connection with any of the characters. However, I applaud Ms. Lin for writing a book that Asian American girls can identify with. My husband teachers a lot of Asian girls, and I heard echoes of stories he hears from them throughout the book.… (more)
LibraryThing member abbylibrarian
The book starts off at Lunar New Year. It's a new year, the year of the dog, and Pacy Lin is determined that this year will be a lucky year for her. Her goal is to find herself and figure out what her talents are and with a little help from her friends and family, she'll be able to do just that.

One day at the library, Pacy laments that there are no books about real Chinese/Taiwanese-Americans like her. When the librarian suggests that she write one, Pacy finally gets an idea for the book contest her school is entering. Based on the author's own childhood, this book is a fun and lively story.… (more)
LibraryThing member mysteena
As the author states, "Growing up Asian in a mainly Causcasian community was not a miserable and gloomy existence. But it was different. I wrote Year of the Dog, because I felt that it was important to have a book that addressed those differences in a real and upbeat way. I wrote it because it was the book I wished I had had when I was growing up, a book that someone like me in it." She succeeded! This book is cute yet poignant at the same time. I feel certain a fourth grader could read and enjoy this book. Most books about Asian-American life that I've read (and I've read many) have been quite dark. This is the first "upbeat" story I've read and I enjoyed learning about this side of the spectrum. Even when something negative happens in her life, like when her Chinese-American peers accuse her of being a "twinkie" (yellow on the outside and white on the inside), her parents turn it into a teaching opportunity and tell her stories about their own lives to help her feel better. Gone is the spooky, angry, refusing-to-learn-english Mom, or the absentee-father that so usually typifies Asian-American literature. I loved it!… (more)
LibraryThing member stoog
Grace, you need to learn how to adjust to the world as a Chinese American.
LibraryThing member sprovost
The Chinese New Year has arrive and it is now the Year of the Dog. This is the year that young Pacy is supposed to 'find herself.' As a young Taiwanese-American girl, she begins to learn more about her culture and heritage throughout the Year of the Dog. When a new student, Melody arrives at school, Pacy befriends her. Melody is also Asian American (and now the only other Asian American at their school besides Pacy and her sibling). Pacy soon learn more about herself and her culture through her friendship with Melody and her experiences throughout the year.… (more)
LibraryThing member sckimmel
For Grace and her Taiwanese family, the "Year of the Dog" is for friends and family and finding yourself as related in this story interwoven with family stories.
LibraryThing member puppies1608
this book mwas so amazing it showed that even though you are different it doesn't mean it in a bad way. She wasn't brave enough but she still believed in herself for being her.
LibraryThing member kayceel
Pacy, told by her family that the Chinese Year of the Dog is the year one is meant to 'find oneself,' sets out to do just that. But when the year is drawing to a close, and she still hasn't discovered her 'talent,' she begins to worry!

I've chosen this as one of the books I'll be reading and discussing with my ChickLit book group this summer (for girls going into 3rd, 4th and 5th grades). Pacy struggles not only with friendship and finding her talent, but also with what it means to be one of very few Taiwanese American students. I look forward to discussing these things with the girls this summer. I also plan on sharing Lin's picture book, The Ugly Vegetables, with them, as it plays an important part in The Year of the Dog.… (more)
LibraryThing member mysteena
As the author states, "Growing up Asian in a mainly Causcasian community was not a miserable and gloomy existence. But it was different. I wrote Year of the Dog, because I felt that it was important to have a book that addressed those differences in a real and upbeat way. I wrote it because it was the book I wished I had had when I was growing up, a book that someone like me in it." She succeeded! This book is cute yet poignant at the same time. I feel certain a fourth grader could read and enjoy this book. Most books about Asian-American life that I've read (and I've read many) have been quite dark. This is the first "upbeat" story I've read and I enjoyed learning about this side of the spectrum. Even when something negative happens in her life, like when her Chinese-American peers accuse her of being a "twinkie" (yellow on the outside and white on the inside), her parents turn it into a teaching opportunity and tell her stories about their own lives to help her feel better. Gone is the spooky, angry, refusing-to-learn-english Mom, or the absentee-father that so usually typifies Asian-American literature. I loved it!… (more)
LibraryThing member pumabeth
The magic of this story lies in the heart of the young narrator, Grace. All readers can relate to her search for her identity. Many children wonder what they will do when they grow up. Will they be a doctor? Will they be a millionaire? Will they be famous? What career will they have?

Added to Grace's confusion, she wonders whether she is Chinese, Taiwanese, or American. The wonderment of cultural stories, traditions, and differences between the worlds will intrigue all readers, but additionally, it will serve a special purpose for the author who wishes she had a book like this when she was growing up and trying to find herself.

Use in a classroom or school library: Students could hold discussions and work on projects related to cultural heritage as well as a search for possible careers based on strengths and talents.
… (more)
LibraryThing member anniecase
A charming, funny, totally relatable story about a little girl trying to figure out where she belongs. Lin says this is the book she wishes she had had as a child and I do, too! It reinforces the message that you can be anything, inspiring young girls in the process.
LibraryThing member cshaw
This is a story about a young Taiwanese American girl who is struggling to explore her identity, make new friends, and to find out what her talents are. In the story it is the year of the Dog, her lucky year, in which she was born. She does make a new best friend who is also Taiwanese American and discovers she likes to write and illustrate books. She learns many new things about her identity while struggling to straddle the American and Taiwanese cultures. I really liked this book. For this genre, it holds many “hooks.” It talks a lot about straddling cultures and the usual issues central to this age group like friendship, loyalty, and identity. The voice rings true and it represents a “genuine” part of the American experience many kids will be able to relate to.… (more)
LibraryThing member eghirsch
I enjoyed the story and the book really opened my eyes to the Taiwanese American culture and what traditions and values are important to them. The Year of the dog explained the story of the young girl and what she faced being in the minority.
LibraryThing member dominirose
A nice simple book. Short chapters. Sketches. Inspired. Reminds me of Maira Kalman.
LibraryThing member YouthGPL
Kearsten says: Pacy, told by her family that the Chinese Year of the Dog is the year one is meant to 'find oneself,' sets out to do just that. But when the year is drawing to a close, and she still hasn't discovered her 'talent,' she begins to worry!

I've chosen this as one of the books I'll be reading and discussing with my ChickLit book group this summer (for girls going into 3rd, 4th and 5th grades). Pacy struggles not only with friendship and finding her talent, but also with what it means to be one of very few Taiwanese American students. I look forward to discussing these things with the girls this summer. I also plan on sharing Lin's picture book, The Ugly Vegetables, with them, as it plays an important part in The Year of the Dog.… (more)
LibraryThing member SDando
This was a very cute book. I liked how it was a novel, but it read like a young girls diary. I loved the illustrations in the margins too. I think many girls could relate to this book, whether they are caught between cultures or not.
LibraryThing member GaylDasherSmith
When a child comes from a family that embraces their culture, there is an inevitable conflict. This is dealt with here in such a warm, caring way. A wonderful glimpse into Oriental culture.
LibraryThing member kerriwilliams
Great story about growing up in a country that is different from your birthplace and that of your parents. The story had wonderful pictures that were humorous and reminded me of a child's drawing in a notebook. The book was fun and enjoyable. I would incorporate this story into a literature circle as it has great opportunities for child centered discussion.… (more)
LibraryThing member xuesheng
Because I have enjoyed Grace Lin's picture books and had read good things about this book, I bought The Year of the Dog for my daughter at our recent bookfair. My daughter read it soon after and loved it and so did I.

The story is that of Grace during the Year of the Dog--a year that her mother explains is good for finding yourself. With her best friends, Becky and especially Melody, she tries various projects and participates in different events to find out what she does well. Along the way, she tells stories about her parents' lives in Taiwan and about how the family combines Chinese and American traditions for their American family.

It's great to have a book where the main character isn't Caucasian. As Ms. Lin writes in her author's note, "Growing up Asian in a mainly Caucasian community was not a miserable and gloomy existence. But it was different. I wrote The Year of the Dog, because I felt that it was important to have a book that addressed those differences in a real and upbeat way. I wrote it because it was the book I wished I had had when I was growing up, a book that had someone like me in it." To that I say, "Thank you, Ms. Lin!"
… (more)
LibraryThing member jasmine84
This book is just talk about year of the dog. What happen and how it come out to the family in the year of the dog. The picture look like drawing but not that pretty is just simple picture. The book easy to read but is not that fun enough for me to hold the book all day.
LibraryThing member picardopicks
2009 YRCA Nominee Junior Division
2006 ALA Children's Notable
2006 National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA) GOLD Winner

It is Chinese New Year in the Lin household and they are celebrating The Year of the Dog. Grace is the middle daughter and this is her story. Upon hearing the meaning behind The Year of the Dog, Grace decided this is the year she will discover her special talent, become rich, meet new friends and find herself. Grace and her sister Lissy are the only Asian people at their school. Grace doesn’t like being the only ones, so she is thrilled when Melody who is also Taiwanese-American is new to her class. Grace and Melody become best friends and decide to spend their year in pursuit of finding their talents. Grace enters a nationwide story writing contest, is a munchkin in the school play, goes to Taiwanese summer camp and learns of many stories of her mother’s past.

This is an endearing story of Grace as she tries to figure out who she is as a Taiwanese-American. Grace as the narrator really brings the story and characters to life. Interesting aspects of Asian culture are explained with detailed descriptions of the food, customs and holidays. The back stories of Grace’s mother and grandparents are insightful to their culture, and show how storytelling is a significant part of Grace’s upbringing. Kids will love the small drawn pictures that emphasize what is happening in the story. This story shows the unique experience of feeling different coming from another culture, but also recognizing your talents through the support of a loving family.
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LibraryThing member xubibliobug
The year of the dog by Grace Lin won YRCA 2009, Junior Division Nominee.

Told by her parent, “The year of the dog is the best year to find yourself,” Pcay, a little Taiwanese-American girl, stars her journey of self-exploration at the beginning of the year: She tries to discover her value, to search for her special talent, then to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. Moving through the next 12 months, it has proven to be a great year: She made a best friend Melody, also coming from Taiwan; they participated in many school activities; together they entered a science fair. She even won fourth place in a national book-writing contest and found her true purpose in life….

Through Pcay’s sweet and funny insights, the universal themes of friendship, family, self-discovery and finding passion in life make this novel appealing to readers. Some sensitive topics such as culture shocks and her dual identity are presented in a real and upbeat tone. Some Taiwanese culture, customs and cuisine are interestingly introduced into the book too.

Small, captioned and childlike black-and-white drawings are dotted throughout the book. Typeface with a hand-lettered quality adds more charming characters to the book. This humorously touching story, along with cute illustrations, will entertain young readers, especially the girls.
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LibraryThing member gjchauvin504
It's rare to find any book as small and intelligent as this little novel. For those readers who like chapter books but still need pictures, "The Year of the Dog" fills a definite need. Probably one of the more beautiful books to come out this or any other year. It's required reading.

Lexile

690L

Pages

134

Rating

(166 ratings; 3.9)
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