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Wong, Janet S.
Orlando : Harcourt, 2002
IL K-3, RL 3.3
ISBN 015202543X

(2 booktalks)

Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Booktalk #1

The Chinese-American protagonist of this story can’t seem to make her parents understand that Americans don’t want Chinese food on the 4th of July.  Apple pie and fireworks, perhaps, but Chinese food? No!  Already disgusted because her parents’ restaurant is open every day of the year, the speaker mopes around the restaurant all day with an “I told you so” attitude toward her parents. No one comes to buy Chinese food . . . until after the parade.  At 5:00, the people start coming, and there is a steady stream of them until closing time.  After the restaurant closes, this little girl and her family go up to the rooftop to watch the fireworks and eat apple pie.  Janet Wong effectively captures the situation of many young hyphenated Americans who feel torn between the traditions of their parents’ culture and contemporary American traditions.  Chodos-Irvine’s colorful, angular illustrations help to convey the story simply and without sentimentality. (Michelle Martin, South Carolina Book Awards, 2006)

Booktalk #2

This particular book was intriguing since I myself am a foreigner in this great country called America. As the little character in the book emotionally expresses on the Fourth of July, "my parents do not understand all American things" I am reminded of a culture that is not mine, but that I have grown to embrace. She continues: "I cannot expect them to know Americans do not eat Chinese food on the Fourth of July", as though expressing a sense of being caught between two distinct cultures.

This book simply illustrates the view of a Chinese girl who can't stop being Chinese, and will never become American. It is well written and with language that any elementary student understands. It is a great look into the world of immigrant families who hold on tight to their own culture while struggling to immerse themselves into the American way. It was great to see in the end that Americans do eat Chinese food on the Fourth of July, just as much as Chinese eat Apple Pie while the fireworks show.  (Mauricio Cadavid, college student,

SUBJECTS:     Fourth of July -- Fiction.
                        Cookery, Chinese -- Fiction.
                        Chinese Americans -- Fiction.


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