|In the beautiful country|
Author: Kuo, Jane
In 1980, ten-year-old Anna and her parents finalize their immigration from Taiwan to California, and as she settles in to her new home, Anna is confronted by the stark difference between her dreams and her reality.
Kirkus Reviews (04/15/22)
School Library Journal (+) (04/01/22)
The Hornbook (00/07/22)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 04/01/2022 Gr 5 Up—A beautifully written novel in verse about finding your way in the world. Set in 1980, Ai Shi/Anna, a Taiwanese girl, moves with her parents to California—or as they call it, the beautiful country. Anna is thrilled to be moving, until she arrives and learns that life in California isn't what she expected. She is the only Asian student at school, and the kids bully her for being different. Her parents put all their money into a fast food restaurant that is costing them more than they make, especially with reoccurring vandalism. What started as a big dream may actually be a big mistake. Kuo doesn't shy away from the hardships, but presents them in a suitable manner for the target audience. The racism that Anna and her parents experience is very relevant today, with some of the depictions (pulling at eyelids and reciting racist rhymes) likely to cause discomfort. This book is a work of fiction, but is inspired by Kuo and her family's immigration to the United States. While Anna was born in Taiwan, her father is Chinese, and she discovers what it means to be from both places during that time. Anna's story is a true journey, and Kuo skillfully breaks it into parts that allow readers to think and reflect on each piece before moving ont VERDICT A moving historical fiction book that is valuable for all readers and belongs in libraries and classrooms.—Amanda Borgia - Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 06/01/2022 It’s difficult for 10-year-old Anna to imagine leaving her grandparents, aunts, and cousins in Taiwan and joining her father in “the beautiful country, the Chinese name for America.” He went first and bought a fast-food restaurant, which he is running alone, but soon Anna and her mother join him. Difficulties arise on every front: Anna struggles with discrimination against Asian Americans at school, the restaurant struggles to break even, and teen vandals throw bricks through the front window. Discouraged, her parents consider returning to Taiwan but gradually find the support they need to keep going. Inspired by their example, Anna decides how she wants to treat the people around her. Based on Kuo’s experiences as an immigrant growing up in Los Angeles in the 1980s, this novel in verse will resonate with many children who have faced similar challenges, including taunting, bullying, and, once they feel accepted by their peers, the temptation to be equally cruel to other newcomers. Anna’s candid first-person narrative makes this first novel an absorbing and ultimately moving book. - Copyright 2022 Booklist.