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Only One Year

by Andrea Cheng
Illustrated by Nicole Wong

Published by Lee & Low Books, 2010
97 pages
ISBN: 978-1-60060-252-8

Ages 6 - 9

Nine-year-old Sharon will miss her two-year-old brother, Di Di, when he leaves to live in China for one year with Nai Nai, their grandmother. Sharon doesn’t understand why Di Di can’t simply go to daycare or a neighbor’s house while her parents are working, but Mama explains the importance of Di Di learning Chinese and being raised by family. Like many Chinese American children, Sharon and her younger sister, Mary, also spent a year in China when they were two. As the seasons pass, Sharon stays busy with school, playing with friends, and building a miniature house, and she and Mary keep an album of photos sent by Nai Nai. When Di Di returns, Sharon and Mary must adjust to his presence all over again, while three-year-old Di Di deals with missing Nai Nai and life in China. Author Andrea Cheng’s simple text and clean layout, coupled with Nicole Wong’s ink illustrations, make an engaging and culturally informative read for newly independent readers. An author’s note describes the decision many immigrant families face as they weigh leaving their children with strangers against placing them in the care of loving family members who will ground them in their culture and language—even if that family is half a world away.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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