In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson

In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson

4.4 81
by Bette Bao Lord

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Shirley Temple Wong sails from China to America with a heart full of dreams. Her new home is Brooklyn, New York. America is indeed a land full of wonders, but Shirley doesn't know any English, so it's hard to make friends. Then a miracle - baseball - happens. It is 1947, and Jackie Robinson, star of the Brooklyn Dodgers, is everyone's hero. Jackie Robinson is proving…  See more details below


Shirley Temple Wong sails from China to America with a heart full of dreams. Her new home is Brooklyn, New York. America is indeed a land full of wonders, but Shirley doesn't know any English, so it's hard to make friends. Then a miracle - baseball - happens. It is 1947, and Jackie Robinson, star of the Brooklyn Dodgers, is everyone's hero. Jackie Robinson is proving that a black man, the grandson of a slave, can make a difference in America. And for Shirley as well, on the ball field and off, America becomes the land of opportunity.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Dr. Judy Rowen
Sixth Cousin moves from Chungking to New York to rejoin her father who had emigrated from China one year before. She renames herself Shirley Temple Wong to fit in better, but soon finds out that she still doesn't quite belong. Baseball becomes her ticket to integration; this was the year that Jackie Robinson proved that the U.S. was truly a land where everyone counted.
Children's Literature - Beverly Kobrin
In Bette Bao Lord's wonderful In The Year Of The Boar And Jackie Robinson, Shirley Temple Wong recites, "I pledge a lesson to the frog of the United States of America, and to the wee puppet for witches hands...."
School Library Journal

Gr 3-6- Ten-year-old Bandit is excited when her grandfather announces to the family that she will be going with her mother to join her father in America. She must leave her clan and the only life she has known in China, but she is sure that moving to America will be an adventure. To celebrate, she chooses a new name-Shirley Temple Wong. Life in America is not easy because everything is new and Shirley doesn't speak English. She is ignored by her classmates until she gains the respect of the toughest girl in class. Shirley learns to love baseball and begins to play stickball. It's 1947, and Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers is everyone's hero, proving that a black man can play baseball as well as anyone. Slowly Shirley learns about the opportunities available to her in America and begins to make true friends. Bette Bao Lord's wonderfully humorous story (Harper, 1984) shows what it means to be an American from the eyes of a spunky young immigrant. It will touch the hearts of listeners. Melissa Hughes authentically narrates all the voices, including many accents and ages. This story will be enjoyed on many levels.-Teresa Wittmann, Westgate Elementary School, Edmonds, WA

ALA Booklist
“Lord writes with a warm authenticity and sparkling humor.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st ed
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.73(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chinese New Year

In the Year of the Dog, 4645, there lived halfway across the world from New York a girl called Sixth Cousin. Otherwise known as Bandit.

One winter morning, a letter arrived at the House of Wong from her father, who had been traveling the four seas. On the stamp sat an ugly, bald bird. The paper was blue. When Mother read it, she smiled. But the words made Grandmother cry and Grandfather angry. No one gave Sixth Cousin even the smallest hint of why.

It is so unfair, she thought. Must I drool like Chow Chow, eyeing each mouthful until someone is good and ready to toss a scrap my way? If Father was here, he'd tell. He would never treat me like a child, like a girl, like a nobody.

Still, Bandit dared not ask. How many times had she been told that no proper member of an upright Confucian family ever questioned the conduct of elders? Or that children must wait until invited to speak? Countless times. Only the aged were considered wise. Even the opinion of her father, the youngest son of the Patriarch, did not matter. No wonder he had gone away to seek his fortune.

She tried to pretend nothing had happened, but it was hard. All day, the elders behaved unnaturally in her presence. No unintended slights, quick nods, easy smiles, teasing remarks or harsh words. They were so kind, too kind. Bandit felt as if she had sprouted a second head, and they were all determined to ignore politely the unsightly growth.

That evening, as she and Fourth Cousin sat on the bed playing pick-up-beans, she confided in her best friend. "Something's happened. Something big has happened!"

"Oh?" said the older girl."'You are always imagining things! Remember the time you told everyone there was a goldfish swimming in the bamboo trees? It was only a fallen kite. Remember the time you overheard the cook plotting to murder the washerwoman? He was only sharpening his cleaver to kill a hen."

Bandit scowled as she scattered the dried lima beans. "That was then. Now is now!"

"All right, all right," sighed her dearest friend. "What has happened now?"

"That's it. I don't know," she answered.

"Well then, let's play. My turn. Sixies."

"No!" shouted Bandit, grabbing the other girl's hands. "Think! Think! What would make Mother smile, Grandmother cry and Grandfather angry?"

Fourth Cousin shrugged her shoulders and began to unbraid her hair. She was always fussing with her hair.

Bandit thought and thought, annoyed at her friend's silence, sorry that no matter how Fourth Cousin tried she would never be pretty.

Soon the coals in the brazier were dying, and suddenly the room was cold. The cousins scrambled under the covers. The beans tumbled onto the floor. Bandit knew she should pick them up, but she just stayed put. She had thinking to do.

Finally Bandit had the answer. Fourth Cousin was asleep.

"Wake up! Wake up!"


"Listen. I've got it. Remember the time the enemy planes bombed the city for two straight days and we had to hide in the caves with only hard-boiled eggs to eat? What happened when we came home?"

"Who cares?"

"Father brought us that pony of a dog. Mother thought it was cute and smiled. But Grandmother was frightened and cried and hid behind the moon gate. And Grandfather was very angry. He said, "Youngest Son, are you mad? Unless you mean for us to eat that beast, take him away. Take him away this minute.' His voice was as cold as the northwest wind." Bandit stood up and threaded her hands into her sleeves as Grandfather did. She cleared her throat the way he did whenever he was displeased, and stomped up and down the bed.

Fourth Cousin never opened an eye. She turned on her side and curled up like a shrimp.

Bandit pounced on her. "Don't you see? Father is bringing the dog back."


Bandit thought it over and sighed. "You're right. You're always right." Quietly, very quietly, she slipped under the covers.

Sleep still would not come. Bandit heard the sounds of laughter and voices, footfalls and bicycle bells, as guests departed from one court, then another. It was the season for merrymaking, when the New Year approaches and old debts are paid. At last the lanterns along the garden walk were snuffed out, and the room was dark. Bandit reached out. Fourth Cousin's hand was warm.

Through the wall came the faint strains of a song. Mother was playing Father's record again.

The music carried Bandit away, thousands of miles to the sea. Its waters were not muddy like the River of Golden Sands that churned at the bottom of the Mountain of Ten Thousand Steps on which the House of Wong was perched. The sea was calm; deep green like jade. As far as the heavens, the skies soared. In the distance, something blue. A boat in the shape of a bird. Slowly it floated toward shore. She shaded her eyes to get a better look. On the deck was Father. She shouted and waved, but he did not seem to hear.

"Father! Father!" She shouted until she was hoarse. Then she ran into the sea, forgetting she could not swim. Soon he was just a fingertip away. "Father! Father!"

Her cries angered the sleeping demons of the deep and they sent a wall of water to quiet the intruder. . . .

Splash! She awoke. Her face was wet.

"Look what you've made me do, you Bandit!"

She sat up to find Fourth Cousin gone and Awaiting Marriage, the servant, sprawled on the floor. Beside the old woman was a shattered water urn. All about, the offending beans.

Before Bandit could apologize, Awaiting Marriage screwed up her skinny face and wailed. The sight was ugly enough to frighten the devil himself. Cook was right. One hundred wedding trunks could not buy Awaiting Marriage even a hunchbacked, lame-footed husband.

In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson. Copyright © by Bette Lord. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 81 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MidnightWorm More than 1 year ago
This book was read in my class over 17 years ago and it still sticks in my mind. An exceptional example of perfectly written children's literature.
Baomei More than 1 year ago
A quick and fun read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My daughter is now enjoying reading books about children whose families immigrated to this country (from Asia or Europe), leaving family behind. I had enjoyed reading some of Ms. Lord's adult books, so I was interested in reading this book with my daughter. My daughter asked a number of questions about situations that came up in the book ("why did he say that?", "what is XXX?", etc.) so I knew she was listening and engaged. There is a wonderful passage where the little girl recites the Pledge of Allegiance as best she can, given that she is still learning English. The book is written in a very straight forward manner and from the perspective of the little girl, so very accessible to elementary school children. However, given the wonderful discussions my daughter and I had about some of the passages in the book, I would recommend the book be read with a parent or in school. I donated our book to my daughter's third grade classroom, as it tied nicely into their China unit.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book because my teacher wanted our class to. I thought it was amazing and so did my friends.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson a little girl named Shirley Temple Wong sails out from her home in china to a new land called America. Her new home is in Brooklyn New York. Shirley has many wonders about this new land and curiosity but unfortunately Shirley doesn¿t know any English so it¿s very difficult for her to make new friends. But once Shirley hears about baseball that becomes her priority she falls in love with it. Shirley has a new hero Jackie Robinson an African American baseball player for the Brooklyn dodgers. Now at this time it was 1947 and Shirley would sit and listen to the radio and hear him play she loved it, she very fascinated by this sport. Shirley would go to school and think about baseball. She played it at school with the other kids she wasn¿t great at it because for one thing she couldn¿t really understand the kids but she tried. Later on in the book Shirley realizes America is the land of opportunity and able to achieve your dreams. The book was very humorous and interesting some parts weren¿t the best but I enjoyed it and I¿m sure whoever reads it will enjoy it to. So yes I would definitely recommend it to all ages. I liked that I really it into it I felt like I was inside experiencing what Shirley was doing and how she didn¿t understand English and just loving baseball and learning. I also liked that the book teaches about how America was the land of opportunity and shows how a black man the grandson of a slave can achieve so much and make a big difference In America. So yes go and find out more about this great book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Jackie Robinson is the Best! This book made me feel how hard for people when they come to a new country or and school because they don¿t know how to speak that language very well. This book also made me feel like I should learn more about my culture. This book was also about a black man named Jackie Robinson. He was the fist black man to ever play in a major league team. At first people made fun of him and called lots of bad names. After that everyone loved him and did not make fun of him any more so if you are interested in this book you should read it! You will not regret anything.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing! I think this book shows that Jackie Robinson had a lot courage to be the first black person in the MLB. It reminded of a saint that had the courage to keep believing in god. I hope you get to read this book because you¿ll get blown away by it¿s greatness.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was the greatest book I ever read. It really inspired me. It also made me laugh. I think others should read this book because it was a Grand Slam. When I picked up this book and read it, it really made me smile. I hope others will love and enjoy this book as I did.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was great, it was boring at first but then it got better. It nice to get a feel of what it was like to come into a new country and have to deal with a new language and culture. When I read this book I felt like I was traveling with Shirley and I was feeling her hardships. It was also a great book because I learned about the first African America to play baseball. If u want to learn more about this book u should read it is a great book. It is a grand slam.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the Year of The Boar and Jackie Robinson was an ok book. I have read better books but it still was a good book to read. It made me feel happy to read this book. I couldn¿t wait to read the next page. This book was about a Chinese girl who came to America. I loved this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a hit! Shirley Temple Wong was born and raised in China. When Shirley was ten she moves to America knowing only her name. With a lot to learn Shirley travels to New York. After Shirley learns and understands more English Shirley is able to make friends. This book can be extremely funny sometimes. Other times it can be serious. I think this book is great because though hardship and struggle Shirley finds happiness. Shirley falls in love with baseball and Jackie Robinson becomes her idol. TO FIND OUT HOW SHIRLEY FINDS HAPPYNESS IN THIS FOREIGN LAND READ THIS BOOK!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a hit in my heart!!!! I recommend this book this book for grades 3-12 grade. After I read this book I realized just because someone black doesn¿t mean they don¿t have dreams. Just like Jackie Robinson playing professional baseball. Also anther reason why I liked this book because Shirley was like Jackie by the way she never gave up! If you like baseball and enjoy adventure you should READ THIS BOOK!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was an inspiration!! It really taught me more about how hard it was for immigrants! Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson also told me the hardships of the people that were black and other back rounds. I also learned that back then when Jackie Robinson played baseball people would call him the worst names and make fun of him. This book also told me that it was hard for the Chinese immigrants to make friends. I recommend you to read this book!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was grand slam! This book was so cool. I loved it. Jackie Robinson¿s courage was my favorite this book. I like baseball too so that made me enjoy this book even more. I recommend this book to all ages. So go out and buy this book!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson is about a young girl from China who comes to America and discovers freedoms, choices, and baseball. She is inspired by Jackie Robinson, the first ever black man to play in the big leagues. This was a touching tale of what it¿s like to come to America for the first time, but honestly, I thought it was just o.k. Although the author tries to use humor many times, there were only a few that even made me smile. It could have been better, but I must admit it could have been worse.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Jackie Robinson Review The book In the Year and The Boar and Jackie Robinson made me feel like I should learn more about my culture and that its hard for people when they come to a new country or state because they don¿t know how to speak that language very well. This book also made me feel like I should be nice to a person that does not know very much of that language and try to be friends with that person. In the Year and the Boar and Jackie Robinson made me a different person. How it made me a different person is that it made me feel like I should get to know a culture instead trying to make fun of that person just because of their culture. Everyone should read this book, it is the most fun and interesting book I have ever read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I have ever read. I read this book in a literature class at school. At first it was really boring but then as I got into it it started to get better and better. This book shows that you should never make fun of anybody because of there race. It also shows that anybody can do anything they want to do. I would recommend this book to any age!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson is a wonderful book for all ages. It is very funny and also heart touching. You can like the Chinese culture and baseball and love this book as I did. Shirley doesn¿t fit in at first, but when her classmates get to know her she makes many friends. There are many problems in the story, buy Shirley seems to get through them very quickly. This book made me feel like learning more about Jackie Robinson and the Chinese culture. I also felt like reading it again. This book hit a grand slam in my heart!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is one of my first I liked because I like to play Baseball and even people who dont like Baseball will adore this book I highly recomened it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book it relly tought me about imigration and harship.This book is very important to me. this book made we want to be a charecter it made me want to be in that story. Al in al i think this book was awsome.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson was a fantastic book! I loved reading it so much! It was about a Chinese girl who moves to America with her mother. She has a really hard time learning English and speaking it. At first she didn¿t have any friends, but then she played baseball. She loved playing it and listening to it on the radio. Then she makes a lot of friends. This was a heartwarming story!
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this book I learned that it can be tough to come to a different state and can¿t talk the language. I learned that you can¿t judge a person by the way they look or talk. It matters what¿s on the inside. I think everyone should read this book