Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by Wan-Long Shang

Lucy is going to have the perfect summer. Big sister is off to college and she thinks she will get the bedroom to herself. Right? Wrong!

Great-aunt Yi Po is coming for the summer. Basketball season starts and Lucy can’t wait to play with the team. Right? Wrong! She has to go to Chinese school on Saturday.

The sixth graders are going to play the teachers in a pick up basketball game and Lucy wants to try out for captain. Right? Wrong! Not if the bully Sloane Connors has her way. She’s scaring everyone off from trying out to be captain. See if Lucy gives into Sloane’s nasty bullying ways or stands up to her.

What a great story and readers will be able to relate to Lucy who is trying to find her identity as a Chinese-American juggling expectations from eastern and western cultures. She’s pretty self-centered at first with her great-aunt coming and is so mad about giving up her room that she divides it in half with a desk and dresser calling it her Great Wall. As the story continues Lucy changes and learns to love her great-aunt. At the part where the students play the faculty in a basketball game, I thought the story was a little cheesy, but I did get a kick out of the athletic librarian ; ) Students will like the feel-good ending – I don’t think they will find it cheesy like me. The characters were very authentic and changed throughout the story by learning from their mistakes. Lucy is a feisty girl with an attitude and is willing to admit when she’s wrong.

Lucy’s Grandma Po Po has died and the family is grieving over the loss. Part of Lucy’s hostility toward Yi Po is that she misses her grandma terribly and is trying to deal with the loss. Lucy fights with her siblings and they get along other times. Some history is given on the Chinese cultural revolution. A wonderful story that is well-written.

Reading Level 5.3
:-):-):-):-) 4 out of 5 Smileys

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