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The Great Wall of Lucy Wu

by Wendy Wan-Long Shang

Published by Scholastic Press, 2011
320 pages
ISBN: 978-0-545-16215-9

Ages 9 - 13

Sixth grader Lucy Wu is angry to discover that the long-awaited room she thought she’d finally have to herself once her sister leaves for college is not to be: a great aunt, Yi Po, whom she never met, is coming from China to stay with them. (It was only on her deathbed that Lucy’s grandmother revealed she had a younger sister in China). Things get worse when her parents decide she will be attending Chinese School on Saturdays, and at school she’s in a battle with a stuck-up girl named Sloane for captain of the 6th grade basketball team. A brisk plot, sprinkled with humor, however, shows how seemingly horrible situations can get better: instead of being disgusted by Yi Po and Lucy’s mother’s dumplings at a friend’s party, the party guests jump at the idea of helping and stuff themselves with the wonderful food, impressed at Yi Po’s cooking ability. Lucy gradually comes to appreciate learning Chinese and her aunt Yi Po—especially when she realizes that this older woman understands and supports her passion for basketball—something her parents do not. Debut author Wendy Wan-Long Shang balances both family and school stories with unsuspected depth and cultural substance in this middle-grade novel.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center


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