The Great Wall of Lucy Wu, published by Scholastic in Jan. 2011
Author: Wendy Wan-Long Shang
It is seldom that I read a book where the voice of the main character is so crystal clear and perfect that I completely forget there must be an author involved. Lucy is a short, Chinese girl who loves basketball. She looks forward to a perfect 6th grade year, finally out from under the shadow of her beautiful older sister who is off to college. Lucy has a room of her own for the first time, and looks forward to decorating it the way she wants.
But life has some surprises in store for Lucy. Her parents want her to go to Chinese school on Saturdays instead of playing basketball, and then announce that a great-aunt she didn't know she had will be sharing Lucy's room for four whole months. Lucy thinks that her perfect year is ruined.
This book is beautifully written, and draws you along with Lucy as she discovers that life may not be what you expect, but that doesn't mean it isn't good. While she deals with bullying and racism, they are not heavy handed, and the most important lessons Lucy learns are about herself.
It may well be that mostly girls discover The Great Wall of Lucy Wu, but I hope boys give it a chance as well. Like Harriet the Spy, a book the author cites as a childhood favorite, this is a book that any child facing the trials and triumphs of middle school would enjoy.
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