Bound To Stay Bound

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 Way home looks now
 Author: Shang, Wendy Wan Long

 Publisher:  Scholastic Press (2015)

 Classification: Fiction
 Physical Description: 250 p.,  22 cm.

 BTSB No: 805272 ISBN: 9780545609562
 Ages: 8-12 Grades: 3-7

 Little League baseball -- Fiction
 Baseball -- Fiction
 Grief -- Fiction
 Chinese Americans -- Fiction
 Pittsburgh (Pa.) -- History -- 20th century -- Fiction

Price: $6.50

In 1972, after his older brother is killed in a car crash, Peter Lee's mother is paralyzed by grief and his traditional Chinese father seems emotionally frozen--but Peter hopes that if he joins a Little League team in Pittsburgh he can reawaken the passion for baseball that all the members of his family used to share and bring them back to life.

Accelerated Reader Information:
   Interest Level: MG
   Reading Level: 4.20
   Points: 7.0   Quiz: 173713
Reading Counts Information:
   Interest Level: 3-5
   Reading Level: 3.70
   Points: 11.0   Quiz: 65926

   Kirkus Reviews (+) (02/01/15)
   School Library Journal (03/01/15)
   Booklist (03/15/15)
 The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (05/15)

Full Text Reviews:

School Library Journal - 03/01/2015 Gr 4–6—Twelve-year-old Peter just wants his home to be the way it was before—before his mother stopped talking, before she started sitting on the couch staring at the TV, and before his older brother died in a car accident. Peter's father is a strict Chinese immigrant who stresses homework, emphasizes respect for authority, and forbids baseball. Peter's mother and siblings loved the sport before his brother died; now baseball is no longer played or even talked about in the family. Peter becomes convinced that the way to get his mother back is to join Little League and play baseball again. He persuades his father to allow him to play, but during tryouts so many children show up that another coach is needed and Peter's father volunteers. This stressful dynamic shows Peter a different side of his father, a man who is mourning his son, loves his family, knows a lot about baseball, and believes in fairness. Peter is a fully realized character, but the rest of his family and most of the players on his team fall flat. VERDICT Though the plot occasionally gets bogged down with too many side stories, this heartwarming story is still a worthy purchase.—Lisa Nabel, Dayton Metro Library, OH - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

Booklist - 03/15/2015 It may be 1972, but for Peter Lee, everything falls into two categories: before, when the family bonded over baseball and Peter’s older brother was still alive; and after. Now Peter’s mother doesn’t leave the couch or talk to anyone, school seems impossible, and the family is falling apart. Perhaps baseball can bring them together again? Peter decides to go out for a Little League team, but he is horror-struck when his firm Chinese father is made the coach and the other kids on the team don’t seem talented. Slowly, though, the team makes progress under Coach Lee’s drills and pitcher Aaron’s contagious enthusiasm, coming together until it is discovered that Aaron is actually Erin. Then the players must remember what they love about baseball. Readers will cheer Peter on as his love for his family drives him to persevere at home and on the field. Parallels between home plate and home as place abound as grief completes its work and relationships are restored. Interwoven with cultural ties to both Peter’s Chinese heritage and to the women’s liberation movement, this touching novel shows the importance of patience—and baseball. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.

Bulletin for the Center... - 05/01/2015 Peter Lee divides his family’s history into Before and After, demarcated by the death of his beloved older brother, Nelson, in a recent car crash. After is certainly hard for Peter, who relied on Nelson to advise him on everything from baseball to girls. The strain wears heavily on his once outgoing mother, who now spends her days staring at the television and barely speaking to her husband, son, and daughter. It’s the way Mr. Lee deals with grief, though, that surprises Peter the most. A strict disciplinarian with old-school values imported from his native communities in China and Taiwan, Mr. Lee seems to be softening, perhaps with regret over having been so hard on his firstborn son. He not only accedes to Peter’s request to join a baseball team but even takes on the position of coach, selecting an improbable cadre of teammates with varying talents and back stories. While the hardy plotline of lovable misfits lends the story structure, the real interest here is the Lees’ mutual growth in understanding and respect and the way baseball helps the grieving family to spark back to life. The 1972 setting is used to advantage, setting up multiple themes of the Chinese-American community’s enthusiasm for youth baseball, following the Little League World series triumph of a Taiwanese team; Nelson and his father’s continual sparring over Vietnam War protests; and teammate “Aaron’s” outing as girl, Erin, and Mr. Lee’s creative strategy for keeping her on the team. While the baseball team’s tale takes center stage, the emotional drama of the Lee family is understated yet persistent, making this a thoughtful sports story with appeal to a broad readership. EB - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.

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