Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin-Audiobooks

While driving back from dropping my oldest at her first week-long overnight camp, I listened to Grace Lin's The Year of the Dog. Jama Rattigan has raved more than once about what a great writer she is of both pictures books and longer novels for tweens. Since Rattigan's Alphabet Soup blog combines both children's lit and FOOD, I am drawn to it. I love how she combines my two favorites in life.

So, Pacy is the narrator of The Year of the Dog, and it starts with delicious descriptions of the Chinese New Year food her mother makes for the celebration. The Year of the Dog, according to her parents, portends to be lucky and will help you find yourself as well as a best friend. All of these come true for Pacy, the only Chinese-American in her school until Melody moves in. The audio is enhanced by a Chinese narrator who truly made Pacy's mom sound like a Chinese mother with an accent. Plus, it made my mouth drool! Readers and listeners find out that the novel is autobiographical and depicts how Grace Lin found her calling to write for children. I was able to finish it in exactly the time it took me to drive back home and I can't wait to read The Year of the Rat. My children will be enjoying Grace Lin's picture books right after I pick them up from the library hold this afternoon!

For an interesting article on the importance of food in children's books, look at this Horn Book article by award winning author Linda Sue Park. Still Hot: Great Food Moments in Children’s Literature by Linda Sue Park. The link is no longer working, but see if you can get a copy of this great read!

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