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The Year of the Book

by Andrea Cheng
Illustrated by Abigail Halpin

Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012
160 pages
ISBN: 978-0-547-68463-5

Ages 7-9

Fourth grader Anna Wang finds solace and pleasure in stories, especially now that her former best friend, Laura, has abandoned her. Anna is happy talking to the crossing guard in the morning, and she’s usually content turning to a book for companionship throughout the school day. At home, her mother thinks Anna can be selfish when she chooses a book over helping others. Still, Anna usually enjoys spending time with her Chinese American family and other adults. But when Laura wants to start doing things together again Anna is reluctant—she’d much rather read. Then Laura’s mom asks if Laura can spend the weekend. It turns out Laura’s parents are separated and there are complications--her mom has had to get a restraining order against her dad. Author Andrea Cheng deftly handles that dimension of this appealing novel in a way that is age-appropriate for both characters and readers. Wonderful relationships—even when they are sometimes a little prickly—unfold and develop as Anna realizes that, sometimes, the right choice is saying no to a book, and yes to a friend. References to the many specific books that Anna reads over the course of the year will be an added pleasure for readers like Anna who can’t get enough of stories. (MS) ©2012 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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