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ONLY ONE YEAR by Andrea Cheng

ONLY ONE YEAR

By Andrea Cheng (Author) , Nicole Wong (Illustrator)

Age Range: 7 - 11

Pub Date: March 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-60060-252-8
Publisher: Lee & Low

Cheng, known for exploring issues of diversity (Shanghai Messenger, illustrated by Ed Young, 2005, etc.), tackles a custom that many will find disorienting. Sharon and her younger sister are upset that their two-year-old brother, Di Di, will live with extended family in China for the “only one year” of the title. Mother explains that it is better for him to be cared for by family than by strangers at day care while everyone is at work or school. “We have to do what is best for Di Di,” she says. “Not what is best for us.” Sharon’s narration follows the sisters throughout the year as they attend school, make friends and play, all the while missing Di Di. Those familiar with this practice will appreciate the book’s frank and thoughtful tone that never diminishes the family’s longing. For others, Di Di’s trauma upon his return, when he no longer recognizes his parents or sisters nor understands or speaks English, will resonate. An author’s note provides some background, but the notion may well be too jarring for many readers to accommodate easily. Wong’s graceful black-and-white sketches complement the text. (Fiction. 7-11)