Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Book review: New Year

*Disclosure: I received this book to review for myself. I was not compensated in any other way and all opinions posted here are mine and mine alone. 

When my husband was 9 years old, his family left Hong Kong to go and live in Vancouver, Canada. So when I got the chance to review a book called New Year, about a young boy whose family moves to the US from Hong Kong, I knew it was one I needed to read. Here's a bit about this book, from the publisher's website:

After his family moves from Hong Kong to Los Angeles, a boy begins school in America. He has a difficult time adjusting with limited knowledge of the English language and American culture. His translator is embarrassed to have to speak her native language at school in front of her friends. The boy feels out of place and alone in his new environment, though his mother assures him that one day he will be proud of his Chinese heritage.

In February, the teacher gives the class a homework assignment: to come up with a theme with which to decorate the classroom. The boy knows exactly what the theme should be. He drafts some sketches of decorations for Chinese New Year. His teacher and classmates love the idea and have many questions about Chinese New Year for the boy. He is happy to answer and share his heritage with them.

New Year is based on author/illustrator Rich Lo’s childhood experiences immigrating to America, and it is ultimately a story about being proud of who you are and where you’ve come from.
This is one of the most beautifully illustrated books that has come into my home. My kids were transfixed as we sat and read it together. It's a lovely story about transitions and struggling to find your way in a new place and of being proud of your own life story. For my family, it was a great way to talk a bit about my kids' Chinese heritage and the experiences that their dad had in his country of birth. For other families, this is a good book to talk about accepting others who are different and about experiencing other cultures and learning from them. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It's just lovely!