The Year of the Dog, by Grace LinThe Year of the Dog is a nice story for 3rd or 4th graders about a young girl's experience growing up as one of the only Chinese-Americans in her school. As the story developed, I really grew to like Pacey. I loved getting a sense of her family life and her friendship with Melody. There are many points where any kid might relate to Pacey's struggles - with the science fair, with a crush on a boy at school. But this story also gives the reader a feeling for Pacey's Chinese-American traditions and how she struggles to accept and understand her identity.
New York : Little, Brown, 2006
ages 8 - 12 (great read aloud for younger kids)
The dramatic tension in the story grows as Pacey tells about her feeling awkward at school being Chinese - she worries about being in the school play of Wizard of Oz, that everyone would think it was odd to have a Chinese munchkin. But she also feels awful when other Chinese girls teased her for not speaking Chinese or Taiwanese.
This would make a great read-aloud for kids in 1st or 2nd grade, or a nice independent read for 3rd or 4th graders. It would appeal to any kid who likes a realistic story, especially kids who might be interested in Pacey's Chinese-American identity.
Find it at the Berkeley Public Library or the Oakland Public Library. If you like this book, you might try the sequel: The Year of the Rat.