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by Pauline Chen


School Library Journal:

Gr 4-6- Eleven-year-old Peiling Wang has mixed feelings about Christmas. Her family is from Taiwan and doesn’t celebrate the holiday, she’s sick of all the presents and trappings–but she also secretly yearns to participate in the festivities. Initially, her parents have a hard time understanding, but her sympathetic uncle and mother finally convince her father to agree. They even invite Peiling’s Jewish teacher to join their celebration. For Peiling, the day is a disaster. Misunderstandings abound, but things work out in the end. While the teacher seems like a stock figure, the other supporting characters are interesting, especially Peiling’s parents, who try so hard to give their daughter the experience she dreams of while remaining true to their own values, and schoolroom rival, Laura, who hides her insecurities under a mantle of know-it-all overachievement. Peiling learns that reality seldom resembles what you see in the media and that it’s okay to stand up for what you want–lessons that are good to learn at any time of the year.–Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library –Mara Alpert (Reviewed October 1, 2007) (School Library Journal, vol 53, issue 10, p96)


4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, Ages 9-12, Cultural Differences, Identity