[star] "Sheds light on the Chinese American culture in a manner that at times recalls Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club."--Publishers Weekly (starred)
"Rings true with uncertainty, joy, and hope."--School Library Journal
April Chen is happily planning to go away to college, and she has a great new boyfriend, Steve. But as the only girl in her family, April is expected to take care of her grandmother. And Grandma, "the Dragon Lady," hates Steve and has other plans for April. Torn between her duty to her family and her desire for independence, April realizes she must find a way to define herself on her own terms.
Includes a reader's guide.
LENSEY NAMIOKA is the author of several books for children and young adults, including Ties That Bind, Ties That Break; Mismatch; and Half and Half. She lives in Seattle, Washington.
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April is Chinese-American. She lives with her father, brother, and grandmother in Seattle, Washington. When the story begins, April is a junior in high school. She plays in her school's orchestra and belongs to the geology club. April loves rocks. She wants to go to school in Colorado to study geology, but there is a big problem - GRANDMA.
Grandma came to live with them when April was small. April's mother was so distraught that she went to work at the local library, until she died two years ago from lung cancer.
In Chinese-American families, the most important family members are the boys. The girls don't count for much. April, growing up in America, is having trouble being submissive, especially to her spoiled, doted-on brother.
When Grandma is diagnosed with diabetes and begins showing signs of senility, it is expected that April take care of her. April is torn between being the good Chinese daughter and pursuing her dreams of going to college and becoming a geologist. Her brother is so self-centered that April has to give up being in the orchestra and belonging to her rock club. Will she have to give up all of her dreams?
I enjoyed reading APRIL AND THE DRAGON LADY and did so in about a week while reading three other books. April is a good character and her fight is interesting. The characters learned a lot during the length of the story about family, love, culture, independence, and giving to others. I highly recommend reading this book.
A real touching story of a young girl and her extraordinary life. Highly recommended.