The Year of the Fortune Cookie (Anna Wang Series #3)

The Year of the Fortune Cookie (Anna Wang Series #3)

5.0 1
by Andrea Cheng, Patrice Barton

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Eleven-year-old Anna heads off to sixth grade, leaving the comfort and familiarity of elementary school behind and entering the larger, more complex world of middle school. Surrounded by classmates who have their roots all in America, Anna begins to feel out of place and wonders where she really belongs.  When Anna takes a trip to China, she not only explores


Eleven-year-old Anna heads off to sixth grade, leaving the comfort and familiarity of elementary school behind and entering the larger, more complex world of middle school. Surrounded by classmates who have their roots all in America, Anna begins to feel out of place and wonders where she really belongs.  When Anna takes a trip to China, she not only explores a new country and culture, but finds answers to her questions about whether she is more Chinese or more American.
     This young illustrated chapter book is the third in the series that includes The Year of the Book and The Year of the Baby. For grades 1-4.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is just right for middle-grade Anna fans ready for new experiences."

"Barton's winning illustrations continue to delight."
—School Library Journal

"Fans of Anna's previous adventures will definitely want to keep following her as she journeys toward young adulthood."

Children's Literature - Leona Illig
Eleven-year-old Anna Wang goes to the sixth grade, lives in Ohio, and was born in the United States. Her parents are originally from China, however, and her sister was recently adopted from an orphanage in Beijing. So is Anna American, Chinese, or both? She has a chance to find out when Mrs. Sylvester, her former teacher, invites her to go to China to help her and her husband bring home their new adopted baby. Anna prepares for the trip by participating in a bake sale to raise money for the orphanage and by knitting hats for the babies. But will Anna be able to make friends there? And will she be allowed to visit the orphanage from which her sister came? This book, part of the “Anna Wang” series, tells the story of Anna’s trip to China with sensitivity and honesty. It corrects misconceptions about fortune cookies and Chinese food in America, and it realistically portrays the good and the sad aspects involved in adopting a baby from China. The book does not shy away from such topics as the Chinese government’s family policies, pollution, and poverty. The story is told in Anna’s voice (first person, present tense) in language that is simple but which conveys emotional and intellectual depth. The themes—identity and community—are presented in sincere, unbiased terms. As a bonus, the book contains a recipe for fortune cookies as well as advice for youngsters on how to write (the latter is cleverly illustrated through Anna’s attempts to write about her experiences). In addition to containing a short list of Chinese words and their meanings, the book also contains some pleasant black and white illustrations. Readers of all ethnicities can learn much from this beautiful, thoughtful story. Reviewer: Leona Illig; Ages 8 to 13.
School Library Journal
Gr 2–5—In this pitch-perfect sequel, Anna juggles the usual "starting middle school" trials in addition to trying to fit into both her Chinese and American cultures, spurred by her trip to China with her former teacher. Anna's new friend Andee helps her with this big step by sending her fortune cookies with personalized notes. Barton's winning illustrations continue to delight.
Kirkus Reviews
A two-week trip to China allows sixth-grader Anna Wang to reflect on her Asian-American identity. At the end of The Year of the Baby (2013), Anna's teacher, Ms. Sylvester, invited Anna to come with her to Beijing to help her take home an adopted Chinese baby. In this third title in the series, Anna does just that, leaving for an unfamiliar country almost before she's adjusted to middle school. Anna's journey provides an opportunity to consider the question "Who am I," raised in her social studies class. Very aware of differences of skin and hair color, she appreciates that in China she doesn't stand out. It's a strain to speak a language she doesn't know well, and she misses her family. Her narration clearly conveys the experience of foreign travel from a sixth-grade point of view; it's light on famous sights and heavy on personal encounters. A friendly hotel waitress invites Anna to her family's one-room home. She even gets to visit the Lucky Family Orphanage where her own sister once lived, bringing the money she and new middle school friends raised with a fortune-cookie bake sale and baby caps they knitted. Similar in subject to the author's Shanghai Messenger (2005) but different in approach, this is just right for middle-grade Anna fans ready for new experiences. (Fiction. 7-11)

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Anna Wang Series, #3
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.25(h) x 0.73(d)
690L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

As soon as mom walks in the door, the phone rings. “Yes, I see, how wonderful!” Mom holds the phone with her shoulder so she can put Kaylee into her booster seat and pour Ken a glass of milk. “We are very happy. Congratulations!” She sounds distracted and then hands the phone to me.
   “Great news!” Ms. Sylvester’s voice is loud. “We’ve finally been approved!”
   “Finally” is right. Last February, Ms. Sylvester and her husband came to our house to talk about adopting a baby from China. Everyone was so excited, and Mom said that maybe she and I could go with them to help. The Sylvesters even offered to pay for my ticket. But the process took forever.
   Ms. Sylvester is talking fast. “The baby’s name is Jing and we are hoping that you and your mom can go to China with us to pick her up over winter break.”
   “I hope so,” I tell her. Silently, I think that Jing Sylvester sounds funny, but then I realize that it’s no different from Anna with Wang.
   “How do you like middle school so far?” Ms. Sylvester asks.
   I’m not sure what to say. The cafeteria is really crowded, and now that Laura is going to Our Lady of Angels, Camille is my only friend. But I can’t explain all that on the phone. “Fine,” I mumble.
   “Okay, Anna, I’m sure I’ll see you soon.”
   I hang up the phone. February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September. I’ve been waiting to hear this news for eight months, but now that it’s real, my stomach feels tight. What will it be like to visit a place where almost everyone is Chinese? And what if I hate the food? Mom says Chinese food in America is completely different from Chinese food in China.
   Ken takes his glass to the sink and runs out the door. Kaylee is eating Cheerios by the handful. “Can we go with the Sylvesters to get their baby?” I ask.
   “The tickets are very expensive now,” Mom says. She pours milk into a sippy cup for Kaylee. “I know that the Sylvesters said they will pay for you, but we still have to buy my ticket.”
   “Maybe I can earn some money by babysitting,” I say.
   Mom looks out the window above the kitchen sink. “First we can go to Beijing to help the Sylvesters and see Kaylee’s orphanage, and from there we can go to Shanghai to visit my family.” Mom’s eyes have a faraway look. “But that would take much longer than two weeks. Even one month would be too short.”
   I really want my mother to come with me to China. That’s been our plan all along. “How about three weeks?” I suggest.
   Mom wipes Kaylee’s face with a washcloth. “Just today two of the nurses on my floor asked for time off before the holidays. I am new. I cannot ask for so much vacation.” Mom closes her eyes. “Maybe in a couple of years, we can plan a longer trip.”
   “So we can’t go?”
   Mom takes a deep breath. “This is not a good time for me, Anna.”
   I can’t believe that the Sylvesters finally got approved and now Mom says we can’t go! Who knows what could happen in a couple of years? By then I’ll be in high school. “Can I go to China without you?”
   As soon as the words are out of my mouth, I feel unsure. How would it feel to go so far away without anyone in my family? I know Ms. Sylvester because she was my teacher for two years, but she’s not like an aunt or someone I’ve known forever. And I’ve only met her husband once.
   Mom fingers the buttons on her sweater. “You never stayed away from home before.”
   Mom is right. I only spent the night at Camille’s once, and in the middle of the night I missed home so much that Camille’s mother called Dad to come and pick me up. “This is different from a sleepover,” I say. Mom bends down to clean up the Cheerios that landed on the floor. “I don’t know, Anna. You are only eleven years old. And two weeks is a long time.” She takes Kaylee out of her seat and sets her on the floor.
   “But the decision is for you.”
   Kaylee runs over and hugs me around my legs. “Play with me,” she says.
   Two weeks would be a long time without Kaylee and Mom and Dad and Ken and our cat Maow Maow. But a couple of years is too long to wait.
   “I want to go,” I whisper.

Meet the Author

Andrea Cheng is the author of several children’s books, including the acclaimed middle-grade Anna Wang series critics call "gentle," "accessible," and "just right." Though she passed away in 2015, Andrea Cheng's books will continue to inspire readers. Visit her website at:

Patrice Barton's talents were discovered at age three, whens she created a mural with a pastry brush and Crisco. She lives in Austin with her family. Visit her website at

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The Year of the Fortune Cookie 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is really good! Anna Wang finnaly enters middle school,but goes back to China