Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Will the Wall do the Trick?


Lucy just knows that she is going to have the best year of her life. After all, she is going to be a sixth grader- the top of the school, and her older sister, Regina, is leaving for college so she will have their whole room to herself. She plans to redecorate and have her best friend sleep over. Unfortunately, Lucy’s Chinese skills are limited and she hasn’t been understanding everything her family has been talking about, so she is stunned to find out she will have a new roommate. Yi Po, her grandmother’s long lost sister is coming to stay with them, and she will be sharing the room with Lucy. Her world is turned upside-down, and now all of her plans are ruined. This is when Lucy realizes that her year is not going to be the best ever, but the worst one yet. She builds a wall dividing her room in half, so that she has one side and Yi Po has another. Of course, the bookcase, desk and dresser in the middle of the room make things a little messier, but she doesn’t want Yi Po touching her stuff and invading her privacy. To make matters worse, Lucy finds out she has to go to Chinese school on Saturday with Talent, the school know-it-all, and her chances of playing basketball (her favorite thing in the world) are axed because of it. When she accidently gets on Sloane's bad side, she is afraid her life will be ruined. She has seen Sloane get even and ruin people's lives, almost everyone is afraid of her. Could things get worse?  What would you do if you had to share a room with a relative almost 60 years older than you? Would you like to go to Chinese school on the weekends? What will Sloane do to her? Will Lucy have the worst year ever?  This 6th grade year is full of surprises!

Throughout The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by Wendy Wan-Long Shang Lucy is reluctantly getting in touch with her Chinese culture while she endures new living arrangements. She tends to complain a lot throughout the book, which seems totally normal for a sixth grader! I could relate to the fact that she felt the world was out to get her and that everything was going wrong. Lucy couldn’t believe her parents didn’t understand how awful things were for her. I loved that Lucy has an awesome best friend who helps her to see her situation for what it is. Watching her grow and learn to accept the changes in her life was great. I like that nothing happened instantly, but took time. Just like real life. Throughout the book I learned a lot about the Chinese culture and many phrases and terms are sprinkled in each chapter. I even had to get sushi for dinner as soon as I finished reading! Lucy is a typical kid who loves basketball and wants school to go smoothly. The funny things that happen to her make her a believable character. I think kids from fourth grade through eighth grade could appreciate this book and relate to Lucy and her friends. Lucy Wu has built a wall, but will she keep it up, make it bigger, or tear it down? You will have to find out for yourself!

Has anyone else read The Great Wall of Lucy Wu?  Or have you read another book by Wendy Wan-Long Shang? We would love to hear your thoughts!

Happy reading-

~L 

30 comments:

  1. Lovig the look and sound of this. Definitely one I'll keep a look out for, thank you.

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    1. Petty- So glad this one sounds good to you. Enjoy! :) ~L

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  2. It also sounds perfect for the start of a new school year...

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    1. Patty- Definitely a great start of the school year read! :) ~L

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  3. I haven't read this one, but it looks super adorable!

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    1. Meradeth- It is always nice to find new books. Lucy had some struggles and it was great to see how she changed. :) ~L

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  4. Any book that takes a look at cultural clashes and increases cultural awareness is mine for the reading.

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    1. Lee- I love to read about new cultures and to read books that help me learn about different people! Glad you do too! :) ~L

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  5. I think I would go crazy if I had to share my room with someone 60 years older than me. The fact that my room is way too small as it is only reinforces that feeling. It's interesting to think this in my own cultural perspectives. I mean what if I had to go to spanish school one day of the week? I don't think I would be able to handle that. It hasn't ended well before. But, I doubt that's the case with this school. It might be enlightening for me (:

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    1. Adriana- I love the personal perspective you gave in your comment. Lucy is easy to relate to because she has so much going on at the start of a new year- and she isn't thrilled with all of the changes. Sometimes we learn more from the experiences we resist than we expect! :) ~L

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  6. Chinese culture is something I just don't know a lot about so this would be a good one to get and explore with my youngsters. Thanks for the recommendation.

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    1. Heidi- Reading this book would definitely help you to learn more about Chinese culture. Lucy is torn between being Chinese and being American. It was so interesting to learn more about her and the Chinese culture. :) ~L

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  7. This sounds like a great book! I understand that Lucy was upset about not having her room to herself, but I think it would be fun to spend a lot of time with an older relative -- you could learn a lot about your family and other things from them. I think I would enjoy this one ;) Awesome review! *hugs* <3

    -- Katertot & Michele @ A Belle's Tales

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    1. Katertot- I think it would be hard to live with an older relative, but you are right- there is so much we could learn from them. If we open ourselves up to new experiences it can be life changing! So glad you enjoyed the review. :) ~L

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  8. I haven't read this or anything else by this author, but it sounds great. It kind of reminds of a book I just read called No Boys Allowed by Marilyn Levinson. The premise is different (in No Boys the young girls parents are going through a divorce) but the idea is the same in how a sixth grader reacts and the fact that things don't happen instantly. I'd like to read this book. Thanks for sharing.

    Paul R. Hewlett

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    1. Paul- I haven't read No Boys Allowed, but it does sound similar in that both main characters have a tough time in 6th grade. Sometimes our expectations can hold us back a bit, but usually if we wait things will work out even better than we could have predicted. Thanks for sharing! :) ~L

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  9. Thanks so much for the review! I hadn't heard of this, but I like the sound of it. I'm going to add it to my list now =)

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    1. Ruth- So happy we could introduce you to a new book. Happy reading! ~L and F

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  10. I love the title and how Lucy building her own wall underscores her learning more about her Chinese heritage. It sounds adorable!

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    1. Jocelyn- It is funny how the walls we build to protect ourselves can prevent us from learning and growing. Glad you enjoyed the review. :) ~L

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  11. I've heard of it.. and it sounds super cute! :)

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    1. PK Hrezo- It is a great read! :) ~L

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  12. This is a new to me author & book - and it sounds fabulous! I know some of my students will love it! :)

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    1. Jemi- I know some of your students will enjoy this book. So happy to introduce you to a new book. :) ~L

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  13. Not sure if this is a book for me, but it sounds pretty awesome :D I'm glad you enjoyed it. <3 Thank you for sharing your honest review :)

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    1. Carina- Thanks for your comment! It might not be for you, as the MC is in 6th grade- but it is a good read. :) So glad you liked the review. ~L

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  14. This sounds great and I love the title.

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    1. Kelly- It is a great read and the title is unique! :) ~L

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  15. I like the sound of this, its fun cover and title. I suspect many Chinese-American kids go through this as well: having to stay between two cultures even though they were born and bred in one (the American culture). Oh hey, the wall metaphor reminds me of a Robert Frost poem where he asked what we were walling in, or walling out. Interesting review! Hope to get to it soon.

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    1. Claudine- I agree! This book would definitely resonate for many Chinese-Americans or anyone who has a similar family. Many people struggle trying to find where they fit it. The Robert Frost poem is perfect for this book! Walls can do more than we think! ~L

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