The Year of the Book

by Andrea Cheng

Other authorsAbigail Halpin (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 2012

Call number



HMH Books for Young Readers (2012), 160 pages


Follows a young Chinese American girl, as she navigates relationships with family, friends, and her fourth-grade classroom, and finds a true best friend.

User reviews

LibraryThing member bookwren
A sweet story of learning to be a good friend. Anna Wang's best friends are books: My Side of the Mountain, A Wrinkle in Time, My Louisiana Sky. Sometimes she feels like living in a hollowed-out tree like Sam, so she doesn't have to deal with people. She can disappear in them and ignore the fact
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that she doesn't have many friends her age. She's a bit embarassed by her Chinese mother's difficulty with English and references to Chinese ways. Her best friend is Ray, the crossing guard at school. When a neighbhor girl, Laura's parents, start fighting and separate, Anna realizes it feels good to help others. I loved Anna's friendship with Mr. Shepherd, the elderly widow whom Anna's Mom cleans house for. He notices Anna's interest in art and gives her his wife's paints. Anna's uses her art to communicate her caring to others, drawing pictures and cards for her teacher and friends and Mr. Shepherd. This story is not fast-paced or adventurous, but it is thoughtful and quiet, like me.
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LibraryThing member Whisper1
Found on Goodreads as a recommendation, this is a delightful tale of young Anna Wang who loves books.

Straddled between two cultures, Anna is embarrassed by her mother's Chinese ways and yet she loves her family, hoping they can be more American.

As most coming of age books, this one deals with
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learning how to be a friend and how to accept friendship. Unsure of her life, books are Anna's companions.

When she befriends Laura, she gradually learns of Laura's family life and the fact that Laura's father is an angry man who refuses to stop harassing his family when they ask him to leave.

While on the surface, this seems like a trite story, it deals with complicated subjects of adjusting to another culture, friendship, family difficulties and extended a helping hand to others in need.
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LibraryThing member Sullywriter
Warm, appealing friendship story about the power of books.
LibraryThing member lovestampmom
People who loved The Hundred Dresses will enjoy this little gem of a book with a similar friendship theme, and a girl who finds comfort in reading.
LibraryThing member sreinh2
I thought that this was an OK book. It was by no means my favorite children's book, but there were definitely some that made it a good book. One thing that I liked about this book was that I could somewhat relate to the main character. Early on in school, I had a tough time making friends and I
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would retreat into my books to make it through. I like that this book also deals with some tough issues that some children face, such as divorce. Cheng writes it in a way that children can understand what exactly is happening.

This is a good book for children that who from different cultures or their family is. The main character is embarrassed by her mother's job and the way she speaks Chinese all the time, and she hopes they can be more American. I like how this book is mostly about friendship. Anna (main character) befriends another girl and learns more about her family and the different struggles she is going through.

While this book could be seen as trite, it does discuss some important issues that children go through in life
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LibraryThing member debnance
Why is it that elementary girls are facing Girl Meanness these days? It never struck for me until junior high. Sigh. But that was long, long ago, I suppose, and elementary girls need to see there are ways of facing down GM when it appears. The Year of the Book is perfect for that.

And, I think, The
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Year of the Book is perfect for lots of other things. Its Chinese-American main character is a great role model for children caught between the world of native culture and the world of new culture. YB is perfect for children thinking about friendship, too, and that’s important. Mom-daughter relationships are yet another theme of this book, another theme that is handled well.
Thumbs up for Year of the Book.
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LibraryThing member hatease
Anna loves reading books and considers them her friends, but in reality she has a hard time making real friends. She then discovers how to make a friend and how to be one.

LibraryThing member foggidawn
Third-grader Anna Wang is having friend troubles: her ex-best-friend Laura is now hanging around with Allison, a mean but popular girl, leaving Anna on her own. Anna escapes into the pages of books -- but when Laura is facing serious problems at home, can Anna let go of her resentment and remember
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how to be Laura's true friend?

The best descriptor I can come up with for this book is "nice" -- it's not going to rock anyone's world, but it's a nice, gentle sort of story. Girls like Anna, who escape into books and have friendship troubles and run-ins with mean girls, will see themselves in this book. There's also an element of diversity as Anna learns to respect her Chinese heritage. A pleasant read, but I won't seek out others in the series.
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LibraryThing member Erika.D
Another excellent book. I enjoy reading stories about kids who are different and their struggles to fit in. What was interesting about this story was following the daily trials of a young American born Chinese girl adjusting to elementary school. Dealing with the cultural struggles and family
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challenges helps readers see others from a different perspective. My favorite part was that the main character relied on books from her public library to give her courage and entertainment. I loved how she would read out loud to help comfort her brother and school mate when they experienced troubles and fears...she didn't know how to comfort them with her own words but she knew that books brought her comfort and used that to make new bonds. I also loved that the main character had a loving family that reached out to the elderly and community. The main character was also very crafty and taught others how to sew. The author also includes a pattern for a lunch bag at the end of the story. I really enjoyed this book and appreciated the author's sensitivity to challenges that many children and families face (I.e. divorce, cultural differences, language barriers, bullies, death, learning disabilities, etc).
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LibraryThing member electrascaife
A Chinese-American girl read-walks through her 4th grade year, struggles with her introversion and with making a new friend, who is having her own family issues.
A sweet little book, nicely written, that captures the troubles of a 4th grade girl pretty well, I think. Plus, there are excellent
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references to the books she reads throughout the year, including My Side of the Mountain and A Wrinkle in Time. I think I loved it most because this girl was me at that age - she'd always rather stay at home and read her library book than go to a friend's house to play. Me all over.
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LibraryThing member Jonez
Cute children's story. The protagonist reminded me very much of how I was at that age. In this book Anna learns how to be a friend to someone going through a difficult time. The subject matter can get a bit heavy at times, and I would suggest reading the book with your child in order to address
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questions that may arise.
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LibraryThing member jennybeast
4th grader Anna Wang is often reading a book. She likes them, but it's also an escape from complicated friendship dynamics. What I particularly like about this book is that Anna doesn't jump at befriending another girl when she gets the chance -- she takes her time and the friendship grows based on
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real connections. Her immigrant parents work very hard, but still make space for Laura (the new friend) to have a safe place to be as her parents separate and her father becomes threatening. There are lots of kind adults in Anna's life as well -- Mr. Shepherd, who struggles with asking for help getting in and out of his wheelchair since his wife passed away, Ray, the crossing guard, who checks in with her every day, Teacher Zhen at Chinese school and Ms. Simmons in her classroom. The book has a quiet energy to it -- many things happen day to day, and Anna reads many excellent books and altogether it's just a really nice book in itself. Like a slighly less zany Ramona with craft projects and reading.
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LibraryThing member sweetiegherkin
Fourth grader Anna Chang loves reading so much that she’s often caught with her nose in a book, whether that’s in the classroom, at recess, on the bus, or even when walking! But as the school year progresses from fall to spring, she learns that some of the best memories are made in the here and
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now, with family and friends by her side.

This is a sweet book about the everyday adventures of childhood, from creating a homemade Halloween costume to sewing lunch bags from donated fabric scraps to making paper airplanes and taking them for a spin. Although a few heavier topics come up (such as some casual racism and a divorce that is far from amicable), the book remains optimistic overall.

Anna and her family are endearing, as are the myriad of folks in their lives from a caring teacher to a chatty crossing guard to an elderly neighbors with a penchant for giving away things he's no longer using. I could easily see why readers would want to progress on to the rest of the series to spend more time with these characters.

There is a great deal of diversity in the book; Anna's family is of Chinese descent, with her mother being an immigrant; her mother is also a nontraditional college student; there is the friend whose parents are going through a divorce; there's use of wheelchairs for both temporary and permanent disabilities; and so on.

This book is perfect for fans of Beverly Cleary’s Ramona series, especially if readers are ready to move on to a slightly older protagonist but not quite ready for the darker "problem novel" titles that pepper middle grade literature.
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Texas Bluebonnet Award (Nominee — 2015)
Triple Crown Awards (Nominee — 2016)
Sunshine State Young Reader's Award (Nominee — Grades 3-5 — 2014)
Grand Canyon Reader Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 2015)
Iowa Children's Choice Award (Nominee — 2015)
Volunteer State Book Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 2015)
Idaho Battle of the Books (Elementary — 2021)




0547684630 / 9780547684635


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