2018 Washington State Book Awards finalist
2017 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards: Gold Award, Pre-Teen Fiction – Historical/Cultural
2017 USA Best Book Award Winner in Children's Fiction
2017 Freeman Book Awards Winner in Young AdultHigh School
2018 IPPY Gold Medal Minner in Multicultural Fiction - Juv–Young Adult
2018 Foreword Indies Finalist in Children'sJuvenile Fiction
2018 IBPA Ben Franklin Awards Finalist in Young Reader: Fiction
2017-2018 Reader Views Literary Award in ChildrenTeen Age 12 to 16
“This well-written historical novel is filled with intriguing details about Chinese and American customs and lifestyles of the era. Through Leon's expectations and his confrontations with alien customs, the reader learns about both pre-modern Chinese and Victorian-era American societies and technologies. The novel features several appendices, including a short bibliography, questions for discussion, and trivia for readers who will want to learn more. The boys’ experiences are both timely and timeless in Yang’s deft hands"
“As I read this story, I was continually amazed about what those boys went through not only in traveling to the States but in adjusting to life, education, and customs here.”
Kirby Larson, author of Newbery Honor Book Hattie Big Sky
"Through the eyes of the ever curious "Leon" (Woo Ka-Leong), America is a play of both dazzling light and layered shadows. The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball turns our assumptions of America, and the Chinese impact on our history, upside down. A riveting and revealing story for the ages."
Conrad Wesselhoeft, author of Dirt Bikes, Drones, and Other Ways to Fly
"A smart, authentic, and engaging look at the Chinese experience in America through the eyes of an adventurous and loyal boy who journeys into the sometimes welcoming, often hostile environment that was nineteenth-century America. You’ll be drawn in by the absorbing history (which is little-known but true) but stay for the charactersand the story that brings them to life."
David Patneaude, author of Thin Wood Walls
"Set against the backdrop of the true story of 120 Chinese students sent to New England by their government to study, Dori follows the lives of Woo Ka-Leong (Leon) and his brother Woo Ka-Sun (Carson), their time with the Swann family of Suffield, Connecticut, and their conquest of baseball in a thoroughly satisfying book that will teach young readers about the Chinese, and to see their own culture through foreign eyes.”
Scott D. Seligman, author of Tong Wars and The First Chinese American
"The story shows what it feels like to move to a different country, and how frustrating it is when you have limited language skills. It illustrates the contrasts between the American and Chinese culturesand how conflicted you can feel when two cultures collide and you’re caught in the middle."
Anna X., age 11, Mercer Island, WA, descendant of one of the 120 scholars from the Chinese Educational Mission
"The much-published Dori Jones Yang, in writing this novel, has drawn on historical accounts of the 1870’s Chines Educational Mission, as well as her own extended residence in China as a foreign correspondent. She knows whereof she writes."
Edward Rhoads, author of Stepping Forth into the World: The Chinese Educational Mission to the United States, 1872-81
"My great grandfather, Wen Bingzhong, was one of the 'First 100' and I often wondered about his experiences in America. This was a fascinating period in modern Chinese history, and Dori Jones Yang has written a story which describes how this group of young Chinese males might have felt."
Martin Tang, retired chairman, Asia, Spencer Stuart & Associates
"Although the book takes place in 1876, the conflicts and issues raised are completely modern and relevant today as communities wrestle with the integration of traditional values and changes in technology, job requirements, and evolving social mores. As Dori Jones Yang brings these characters to life, they spark lots of thought-provoking questions – fantastic for school or home."
Nancy Kennan, mother of a middle schooler, avid reader of historical fiction, and investment banker in New York City
"It is 1875. Imagine you are an 11-year-old Chinese boy who has been sent to the United States by your government to gain an American education. You encounter strange customs, confusing values, and many new ways to get into trouble. In this powerful novel, Dori Jones Yang explores cultural differences and ways of responding to them. Her deep insights and the compelling plot make this a book students will enjoy and then recall as they face cross-cultural experiences of their own."
Mary Hammond Bernson, Director, East Asia Resource Center, University of Washington
“Dori Jones Yang takes a little-known piece of American history and brings it alive with wonderfully drawn, rich characters and evocative language. Highly recommended for readers of historical fiction or for readers of sports fiction.”
Patrick Fuller, Middle School Librarian, Oregon Episcopal School
In this story based on historical accounts of the 1870s Chinese Educational Mission, a young Chinese boy tries to balance filial obligation and American culture as he adapts to life in Connecticut.Woo Ka-Leong and his older brother, Woo Ka-Sun, are among 120 boys sent to the United States by the Chinese government to learn English, obtain a Western education, and eventually return to help modernize China. While American railroads and the potential for adventure thrill Ka-Leong, Ka-Sun is wary of the people and customs. These tendencies only deepen as the brothers adjust to their host family and the onslaught of strange experiences—too-sweet pancakes for breakfast, a female teacher, and that curious game, baseball. Disappointingly, Yang troubles a timeless story of immigration and assimilation with inconsistencies. The text's mixed references to Ka-Sun as "Elder Brother," "Woo Ka-Sun," "Carson," and, well into the story, "Ah-Goh" unnecessarily addle the telling. Chinese usage is also uneven: although the boys come from the Cantonese-speaking Guangdong region, the transliteration sometimes uses Mandarin words ("li," "changpao," baozi,"), and italicization appears somewhat scattershot . Most strange, though, is Yang's decision to turn Ka-Sun into a cartoonish villain. Certainly, shock and resistance are understandable responses to significant cultural change, but this account forgoes realistic exploration of that and opts instead for lurid drama. Though it highlights a worthy subject, this pitch is overthrown. (Historical fiction. 10-14)