A Chinese boy struggles to adapt to American life–and discovers baseball. Despite his impulsive and curious nature, twelve-year-old Leon is determined to follow the Emperor’s rulesto live with an American family, study hard, and return home to modernize China. But he also must keep the braid that shows his loyaltyand resist such forbidden American temptations as baseball. As Leon overcomes teasing and makes friends, his elder brother becomes increasingly alienated. Eventually, Leon faces a tough decision, torn between his loyalty to his birth countryand his growing love for his new home.
The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball is a lively, poignant, and nuanced novel based on a little-known episode from history, when 120 boys were sent to New England by the Emperor of China in the 1870s. This story dramatizes both the rigid expectations and the wrenching alienation felt by many foreign children in America todayand richly captures that tension between love and hate that is culture shock. It gives American readers a glimpse into what it feels like to be a foreigner in the United States and will spark thoughtful discussions.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)|
|Age Range:||10 - 14 Years|
About the Author
Dori Jones Yang is a Seattle-area writer with extensive experience making personal connections across boundaries of culture and time. Raised in Ohio, she lived and worked in Singapore and Hong Kong and covered the opening of China as a journalist for Business Week. Married to a Chinese man, she has traveled widely throughout Asia and raised a Chinese-American child. Her previous books include a young-adult historical novel set in China at the time of Marco Polo and a middle-grade novel about a girl from China who begins fifth grade in Seattle only to discover she has lost her voice. After studying Chinese for many years, Dori knows what it feels like to struggle to express your thoughts in an unfamiliar language. Learn more at www.booksbydori.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Marten Weldon (age 12) for Reader Views (9/17) “The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball” by Dori Jones Yang is historical fiction novel about eleven-year-old Woo Ka-Leong (Leon) and his fourteen-year-old brother Ka-Son (Carson). In 1876, the Chinese brothers were part of the Chinese Educational Mission to the United States. They were sent to live with a family in Connecticut, to learn English, go to school, eventually graduate from college, and bring technology back to China. It was a duty to the Emperor and a privilege to be selected for the Chinese Educational Mission. Only one hundred and twenty of the smartest boys were chosen. In addition to going to American schools, they had to keep up their studies in Chinese so they would be able to communicate when they got home. They had to continue to demonstrate their loyalty to the Emperor by wearing a long braid, and Leon had to always obey his elder brother because it was the Chinese way. This was very difficult because Elder Brother did not like America and did not want Leon to play baseball or become Americanized. Leon was the main character. He was frisky and open to new ideas and experiences but was held back by Chinese tradition enforced by Elder Brother. When Leon first arrived, American culture felt very unusual. For instance, walking into a sick person’s house was considered very dangerous to Chinese people, and he refused to carry a basket that been inside a sick person’s house. After a while and some struggle, American culture rubbed off on Leon and he found himself speaking up and participating in American life, including baseball. The storyline focuses less on baseball than the title would lead you to believe. There is enough baseball included if you are a baseball fan, but not too much if you are not. I liked this book because it was very engaging. I learned a lot about Chinese culture, and as a younger brother, I could relate to brothers being brothers. There is also a Fun Facts section at the end of the book with some interesting historical information. “The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball” by Dori Jones Yang was very well written, and I would recommend it to everyone!