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Only One Year Hardcover – March 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 and up
  • Grade Level: 2 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 550L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Lee & Low Books; First Edition edition (March 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600602525
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600602528
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #307,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2–4—Sharon and Mary can't believe their parents' decision to send their two-year-old brother to China. He'll spend a year with their grandparents, who will care for him and teach him Chinese with the help of aunts, cousins, and neighbors. His parents reason that "it's only one year" and everyone here is busy going to work or school. Di Di leaves, and the sisters keep his memory fresh by placing photos of him in an album chronicling his time in China. As months go by, the girls spend less and less time thinking about him. They're embarrassed to tell their friends what their parents have done. When Di Di returns, he doesn't remember them or English words, and Sharon worries he doesn't like them anymore. This slim novel opens a window into a unique cultural experience while showcasing the similarities of families. A pronunciation guide and glossary assist readers with the Chinese words, and black-line illustrations complement the text. An author's note explains that this family's experience is similar to that of many Asian immigrant parents who send a young child to their home country to stay with family members while they make a new life in America and work or attend school to provide a better future for their children. This novel illuminates a family's love and sibling dynamics and will be embraced by many young readers.—Helen Foster James, University of California at San Diego
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Although she sometimes finds him troublesome, fourth-grader Sharon can’t bear the idea that her two-year-old brother, Di Di, will spend a whole school year with relatives in China while she and her first-grade sister, Mary, go to school and her parents work. Time passes faster than she expects, as she and Mary forge a new relationship by building a dollhouse and playing school after homework is done. Di Di returns in the summer, and after a period of readjustment fits back into the family. Soon he’s off to preschool himself. While it is not atypical for immigrant families to send children to relatives, it is an unusual subject for a chapter book. The first-person narrative opens up Sharon’s conflicted feelings, and it is clear that what is best for Di Di is not easy for anyone, including her parents. Realistically, the fitting-back-in period is even more difficult than the absence. Supportive black-and-white illustrations and a glossary/pronunciation guide for the occasional Chinese words and phrases complete the appealing package of this gentle family story. Grades 2-4. --Kathleen Isaacs

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By BeatleBangs1964 VINE VOICE on April 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Sharon, 9 and in 4th grade and Mary, 6 and in 1st grade are horrified when their parents decide to send their 2-year-old brother David (Di Di) to China for a year. Their mother explains that the girls spent a year in China when they were 2; she wants Di Di to learn Chinese as his sisters have. Many relatives such as their grandparents, numerous cousins, aunts and uncles live in China and will welcome Di Di with open arms. The girls are crushed and feel the one year is one year too long.

Their mother takes Di Di to China and spends two weeks there with him before returning to the girls in America. The girls are reluctant to tell others about their brother's departure to China. They keep pictures of Di Di at close hand and think of things he liked to play with and talk about him frequently because they don't want to forget him.

The year finally passes and Di Di, now 3 has to make some readjustments to the home and sisters he has not seen in one year. The few English words he learned prior to his year in China are forgotten; the girls don't know how to reach him. Sharon fears that Di Di no longer likes his family in America and is determined to reach her brother.

This is an excellent book that discusses a very different cultural view of child raising. The children in this story have an incredible cultural experience by spending a year in China, a crucial period in which language development and acquisition is at a maximum capacity. I like the Chinese terms of address and the Chinese words that are given in this book along with a glossary and pronunciation guide. Readers will enjoy this Sino-American family and feel that the story presented is a global handshake, a Chinese bow acknowledging the different cultures and the linking similarities.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Wayne S. Walker on May 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Can you imagine being separated from your little brother or sister for a whole year? Sharon, a nine-year-old Chinese American girl who is going into fourth grade, lives with her Ba Ba (dad), Mama, six-year-old sister Mary who is going into first grade, and two-year-old little brother (Di Di) named David. Then one day she learns that because Ba Ba is busy with his work as an engineer, Mama is starting her new job in the junior high school office, and both girls will be in school, Mama is going to take Di Di to China to spend a year with his grandparents and their family where Nai Nai (Grandma) will take him to market, Ye Ye (Grandpa) will take him to the playground, and Uncle Tao will take him to the zoo.
Sharon wonders why their brother can't just go to day care or have a babysitter, but her parents think that it's better for him to be with relatives. During the year, the two girls pass the time away by involvement with school, friends, and hobbies, especially building a miniature house. They receive regular pictures of Di Di from Nai Nai which they put into a photograph album. Also they remember him when they shop for new shoes and see all the toddler boys' sneakers and boots. Certainly they do not forget Di Di, but when he returns with Nai Nai to get ready for preschool, will he remember them?
Author Andrea Cheng hopes the book will help readers to understand the role that different cultural customs play in the ways which loving families raise their children, and she explains the reasons for these different customs with an author's note in the back of the book. This is followed by a pronunciation guide and glossary for the Chinese terms. Nicole Wong, who provided the black and white illustrations, was drawn to the story because it presents a Chinese American experience that is different from her own. The text and drawings work together to provide a gentle tribute to enduring family love, even when tested by a difficult decision.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Yana V. Rodgers on February 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Sharon's parents have made a difficult decision. Her father works late every day, and her mother is starting a new job as office assistant at the junior high school. While Sharon and her younger sister both go to elementary school, their brother Di Di is too young for pre-school, and their parents are reluctant to leave him with a child care provider. So Di Di will spend a year in China with their grandparents until he is old enough for pre-school.

Sharon and her sister feel a range of conflicting emotions before Di Di leaves and while he is gone. They are angry at their parents for sending their brother away, and they miss him terribly. But after a while they become more involved in their own activities, and over time, reading their grandparents' letters and seeing new pictures of Di Di take on less urgency. They feel even more confused when Di Di returns, speaking a different language and crying much of the time. Did their parents make a big mistake?

This new addition to the literature comes at a welcome time as working families all over the country face difficult choices about child care. With the high cost of daycare and concerns about leaving young children with other people, numerous families turn to extended family members as a source of care. Only One Year provides a glimpse of the challenges that a tight-knit family experiences when they feel that their best option lies across the ocean in China. Deep issues perhaps, but clear text and a child's point of view help to make this book an ideal read for young learners.
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