Peiling and the Chicken-Fried Christmas

Peiling and the Chicken-Fried Christmas

by Pauline Chen
     
 

Christmas season is in full swing, and eleven-year-old Peiling Wang can't take another minute of it. She feels completely left out! Her family is from Taiwan, and even though they have been living in America since she was small, they have never once celebrated the biggest holiday of the year. But with encouragement from her groovy uncle, Peiling musters up the

Overview

Christmas season is in full swing, and eleven-year-old Peiling Wang can't take another minute of it. She feels completely left out! Her family is from Taiwan, and even though they have been living in America since she was small, they have never once celebrated the biggest holiday of the year. But with encouragement from her groovy uncle, Peiling musters up the courage to ask her parents the big question: Can we celebrate Christmas this year? With such high hopes (and maybe some unrealistic expectations!) it is especially disappointing when things don't turn out quite the way Peiling planned. But there is always a silver lining, and Peiling finds it.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Peiling and the Chicken-Fried Christmas is a gentle, fun and truthful tale that will connect with anyone who's felt uncomfortable about being different. Author Pauline Chen invites readers into the lives of a Chinese immigrant family to experience the joys of cultural tradition, while acknowledging the awkwardness that often arises as people from different backgrounds learn to live and celebrate together.” —Bookpage

“A sweet story with a tasty twist!” —Discovery Girls

“Peiling is realistic and relatable as a headstrong pre-teen looking for ways to assert her individuality while trying desperately to fit in.” —Horn Book

Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
Fifth grader, Peiling, wished she could skip the first day of school after Christmas vacation. Everyone would be talking about their presents, and she did not like being different. With some gentle nudging from her Uncle Samson, Peiling asks her Taiwanese parents if they can celebrate Christmas this year. After a heated discussion, they agree. Peiling wants a perfect Christmas. She envisions a tree, relatives eating a turkey and singing Christmas carols together. Then her classmate Laura would no longer be able to make comments about her Chinese food and customs. The reality is far from her dreams, but there are other events that more than make up for it. Peiling gets a starring role in the class play. Her teacher, Ms. Rosenweig, makes a strong attempt to create a more inclusive, multicultural class project that requires Peiling and the creativity of her friend, Grace, to make it a success. Most importantly, Peiling learns that family customs and traditions are important. Chen has created a lively cast of believable characters. Her story of an immigrant child caught between her parents' upbringing and her life in the United States is thoughtfully told. This is a warm family story, a strong school and friendship story, and an enlightening immigrant story that should not be relegated to the "Christmas story shelf." It would be a good classroom read aloud for the beginning of fifth grade. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo
School Library Journal

Gr 4-6-Eleven-year-old Peiling Wang has mixed feelings about Christmas. Her family is from Taiwan and doesn't celebrate the holiday, she's sick of all the presents and trappings-but she also secretly yearns to participate in the festivities. Initially, her parents have a hard time understanding, but her sympathetic uncle and mother finally convince her father to agree. They even invite Peiling's Jewish teacher to join their celebration. For Peiling, the day is a disaster. Misunderstandings abound, but things work out in the end. While the teacher seems like a stock figure, the other supporting characters are interesting, especially Peiling's parents, who try so hard to give their daughter the experience she dreams of while remaining true to their own values, and schoolroom rival, Laura, who hides her insecurities under a mantle of know-it-all overachievement. Peiling learns that reality seldom resembles what you see in the media and that it's okay to stand up for what you want-lessons that are good to learn at any time of the year.-Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
More than anything, Peiling wants to celebrate Christmas. Even though her Taiwanese family lives in Ohio, they don't acknowledge the American holiday because they celebrate the Chinese New Year. Embarrassed at school because she's different, Peiling pleads with her parents, who concede, but the Christmas she has in mind doesn't pan out. Instead, her mother invites her Jewish teacher, steams the turkey instead of roasting it and fixes chicken-fried steak. Her aunts prepare the traditional American dishes with Asian ingredients; her relatives perform karaoke instead of singing carols; and her great-aunt insists on playing mahjong and is beaten by Miss Rosenweig. Though the plot is contrived with stock characters (taunting classmates, uncle who wears an earring), the predictable story does convey the feelings of a child who wants to fit in without losing her ethnic traditions. It's the lines in the class play, The Prince and the Pauper, that resolve Peiling's bicultural differences. Overtly purposeful. (Fiction. 8-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781599901220
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
10/02/2007
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
4.66(w) x 8.56(h) x 0.62(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

PAULINE CHEN was born in the year of the snake, and is mother to a dragon and a chicken. Previously a professor of Chinese language and literature at Oberlin College, she now writes fiction full time. She lives with her family in Ohio.

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