Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream [NOOK Book]


Clara Lee knows exactly what she likes: her best friends, her grandpa, kimchi, candy necklaces, and her dream of becoming the next Little Miss Apple Pie.

Clara Lee knows exactly what she doesn't like: when her little sister is being annoying, her mom's fish soup, bad dreams (but Grandpa says they mean good luck), and speaking in front of ...
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Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream

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Clara Lee knows exactly what she likes: her best friends, her grandpa, kimchi, candy necklaces, and her dream of becoming the next Little Miss Apple Pie.

Clara Lee knows exactly what she doesn't like: when her little sister is being annoying, her mom's fish soup, bad dreams (but Grandpa says they mean good luck), and speaking in front of lots of people (but she'll have to do it for the pageant).

After a bad dream, will Clara Lee's luck change for the better? Can she overcome her fear of speaking in public and win Little Miss Apple Pie?
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The candid Korean-American narrator of Han's (Shug) warm novel is preoccupied with luck. After her Korean grandfather interprets her scary dream as good luck, eight-year-old Clara Lee has a charmed day. She snags the best seat on the bus, scales the rope in gym class, and finds a candy necklace in her desk. But Clara Lee's luck expires the following day, when she has an upsetting encounter with a rival for the title of Little Miss Apple Pie at the town's annual fall festival (her competitor boasts that her family is "as American as apple pie") and contemplates dropping her bid for the title. Clara Lee's ruminations meander, though believably so, and her rapport with her grandfather anchors the story (he explains that her dual heritage doesn't "make you less than anybody else. It makes you more"). The funniest interludes are her credible interactions with her younger sister; Clara Lee's memorable descriptions, such as the "limp green bean kind of hug" she gives her grandfather when she's feeling down, will endear her to readers. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. (Jan.)
School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—Clara Lee has a terrible nightmare in which her grandfather dies. It terrifies her until her grandfather explains that in Korea, when someone dreams about death, it means a new beginning and good luck. Great things begin to happen to her. She can climb the rope in P.E., her friend gives her gingersnaps, and someone has hidden a candy necklace in her desk. All of the good fortune makes her feel confident enough to give a speech to win Little Miss Apple Pie and the Apple Blossom Festival. Because of her Korean heritage, however, some children make her feel as though she is not American enough to win the title. In the end, though, Clara Lee proves that she is "American as apple pie." She deals with some bullying, her friend Max who wants to be her boyfriend, and her annoying little sister. Young readers will enjoy Clara Lee's hopeful demeanor and funny experiences. They will also learn about Korean culture. Clara Lee thinks, speaks, and acts just like the third grader she is in this charming early chapter book. Black-and-white drawings, some full page and some spot art, feature the child, her dilemmas, and her successes. Fans of Clementine will enjoy this endearing character and will eagerly await a follow-up story.—Kris Hickey, Columbus Metropolitan Library, OH
Kirkus Reviews

Dreaming of being the Apple Pie Princess in her town's Apple Blossom Festival, Korean-American third grader Clara Lee defies a classmate who claims to be more deserving and bravely makes a speech in front of the whole school to win the honor. This appealing family-and-school story focuses as much on Clara Lee's relationships with her little sister, Emmeline, and her "dream genius" grandfather as it does on her friends and the competition. Han, who has previously written about teens (The Summer I Turned Pretty, 2009)and preteens (Shug, 2006), captures an 8-year-old's perspective perfectly. The first-person narrative includes imaginative play, family squabbles, the school-bus experience and a touching speech about the special joys of small-town life. Her grandfather assures her: "One hundred percent American. One hundred percent Korean. Doesn't make you less than anybody else. It makes you more." The message shines through but doesn't overwhelm this engaging chapter book that will be welcomed by middle-grade fans of Clementine. Final art not seen.(Fiction. 7-10)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316243070
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 1/14/2014
  • Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 523,566
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • File size: 13 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Jenny Han
Jenny Han grew up in Richmond, Virginia and went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She moved to NYC for graduate school and received her MFA in Writing for Children at the New School. She is the author of books such as Shug and the New York Times bestselling Summer Series. She currently lives in Brooklyn. Her website is

Julia Kuo grew up in Chatsworth, California. After studying illustration and marketing at Washington University in St. Louis, she started working as a greeting card designer at American Greetings. She currently splits her time between Chicago and Taiwan. Her website is
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Read an Excerpt

Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream

By Han, Jenny

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Copyright © 2011 Han, Jenny
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780316070386


When I woke up that morning and saw the red and gold leaves swirling around my backyard, I just knew it was gonna be my kind of day. We started collecting leaves early in the morning, and by afternoon, we had three very nice, fat piles. My best friend, Shayna; my little sister, Emmeline; and me, Clara Lee. Clara Lee is my name, first and last. All the kids at school call me Clara Lee and not just Clara. It just sounds better that way. Like peanut butter and jelly, like trick-or-treat, or fairy and princess, those words just go together. Just like me, Clara Lee.

Later on, we would jump in our leaf piles, but first, we were playing a game I made up called Fall Royalty. Shayna is Queen, Emmeline is Prince, and I am the King of Fall.

“Why do you always get to be king?” Emmeline complained. She loves to complain; it’s her favorite hobby. She is six. She’s small for her age. A runt, like Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web. I call her that when no one’s listening. It really makes her mad. She has chubby cheeks and round button eyes and everybody thinks she is just the cutest thing ever. But not me. I can see through her like plastic wrap.

“It’s not fair,” she whined.

“I’m the one who made up the game,” I reminded her. “If you don’t want to play, you can go and help Grandpa—”

Emmeline pushed her bottom lip out a smidge but didn’t argue. She scooped another leaf off the ground and added it to her pile.

I picked a brownish leaf out of the pile. “Not bright enough,” I declared, in my best King of Fall voice.

Emmeline put her hands on her hips. “Just because you’re the king—,” she started to say. Then she looked over at Shayna. “Shayna, do you think it’s fair that Clara Lee gets to be king?”

“I would rather be queen any day,” Shayna said, fixing her crown of leaves so it set just right on her head. “Why don’t you be princess instead of prince this time?”

“Princesses are boring,” Emmeline said. And then she threw her handful of leaves in the air and danced around our pile. She bounced around like a kangaroo, shook her hips from side to side, and moved her arms like she was doing the backstroke.

Shayna and I looked at each other and shrugged. And then we threw our leaves in the air too, and we danced like Emmeline danced.

After all the dancing, it was time for me to make my toast to fall. I had already practiced it that morning when I brushed my teeth. “Ahem. Now the king will make a toast.” I paused dramatically. I lifted the jug of apple cider that my mom had brought out for us.

“A toast? But we already had breakfast,” Emmeline whispered to Shayna.

“A toast is a speech,” Shayna explained.

“Then why didn’t she just say speech?”

“Quiet, the both of you!” I boomed. Shayna glared at me, and I mouthed, Sorry. Then I cleared my throat. “Fall is a time of change. The seasons are changing. Soon it will be cold. But we will always, always remember the fall, because it is the best time of year. Amen.”

Emmeline crossed her eyes at me. She learned that talent very recently, and now she does it every opportunity she gets, because she knows I can’t. Emmeline said, “I like summer the best.”

“Do not disrespect fall,” I told her, taking a swig from the jug. Then I passed it to Shayna, who sipped it in her ladylike way. Then she passed it to Emmeline, who drank almost half of it.

Our leaf piles were looking good, so I said, “Ready?”

Shayna and Emmeline yelled, “Ready!”

We all jumped into our piles at the same time. It was like jumping into a cloud of fall. Leaves floated in the air like snowflakes. We three couldn’t stop screaming, it was so fun.

After a lot of jumping, we laid down on our leaf piles. It was getting dark. We would have to go inside soon. That was the only bad thing about fall. It got dark so darned quick.

“Clara Lee?” Shayna’s leaf pile was in the middle, right in between Emmeline and me.


“Apple Blossom Festival is coming up really soon. Are you going to try out for Little Miss Apple Pie?”

“I don’t know. Haven’t even thought about it,” I lied.

“That’s a lie, Clara Lee!” said Emmeline. “I saw you practicing your wave yesterday.”

I told her, “You shouldn’t spy on people.”

She was right though. I’d thought about it plenty.


Excerpted from Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream by Han, Jenny Copyright © 2011 by Han, Jenny. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 14, 2011

    'Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream': Sweeter than Apple Pie

    Clara Lee is a little girl with a big dream. When a bad dream turns out to mean good luck, it gives Clara Lee the boost of confidence she needs to pursue her dream of trying out for Little Miss Apple Pie, even if it means giving a speech in front of the whole school, which, mind you, isn¿t exactly her ¿cup of cocoa.¿ When a string of not-so-lucky events sends her good luck packing, Clara Lee¿s confidence takes off with it, leaving her feeling mighty discouraged. But, as Clara Lee soon discovers, luck isn¿t something that comes and goes as it pleases; it¿s something you make for yourself. In 'Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream,' writer Jenny Han redefines what it means to be ¿American as apple pie.¿ Clara Lee is what her grandfather calls an ¿all-American Korean American;¿ she embraces all aspects of her heritage. When she isn¿t wrestling with what it means to be an American, Clara Lee is dealing with the ups and downs of being an older sister, a friend, a daughter, and a granddaughter. Writing from Clara Lee¿s perspective, Han really gets inside the head of her young protagonist. If it weren¿t for the fact that she¿s a fictional character, one would think Clara Lee was a living, breathing third-grader. She¿s funny, she¿s cute, and she's as sweet as apple pie. Julia Kuo¿s cover art for 'Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream' sparkles as brightly as Clara Lee¿s personality. The colors just pop! Her interior art brings the story and its characters to life. She does a phenomenal job of capturing the characters¿ personalities and what they are thinking and feeling in their facial expressions. 'Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream' is a charming chapter book that readers between the ages of seven and ten are bound to enjoy.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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