The Great Wall of Lucy Wu

Gr 4—6—Lucy knows that sixth grade is going to be the best year ever: she finally gets her own room now that her older sister is off to college, and she and her friend Madison are ready to rule the basketball courts. But Lucy's parents put a glitch in those plans when her father returns from a business trip to China with Lucy's great-aunt, who will visit until Christmas. Lucy again has a roommate, and resents this elderly lady who does not speak English and cooks only Chinese food for a family used to pizza and burgers. To make matters worse, her parents insist that she attend Chinese school on Saturday mornings, which means forgoing basketball practice. She is busy with her suburban American life and doesn't feel the need to converse in Chinese or to dwell on Chinese traditions. Slowly, though, she comes to appreciate all that Yi Po has lived through and the quiet ways that her great-aunt shows her love for the family. When Lucy is bullied by a popular girl, she thinks about what her brother told her about Yi Po's life during China's Cultural Revolution and determines that she will act with similar courage and conviction. Lucy is an engaging character, and Shang skillfully weaves in Chinese history and legend as she brings the relationships between Lucy and her family and friends to life. Fans of Grace Lin's Year of the Dog (2006) and Year of the Rat (2008, both Little, Brown) will enjoy meeting this feisty protagonist as she learns to dismantle some walls she has built around herself.—Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
Ruined; that's what Lucy thinks her plans are for making sixth grade the best year ever when Great-aunt Yi Po visits from China. Now Lucy must share her room and go to Chinese School. In this engaging, realistic story about bridging cultural divides, Lucy's concerns are those of a typical American kid who learns to appreciate her family's heritage.

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