The Year of the Dog

The Year of the Dog

by Grace Lin


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316060028
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date: 05/01/2007
Series: Pacy Lin Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 88,103
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Grace Lin is the award-winning and bestselling author and illustrator of When the Sea Turned to Silver, Starry River of the Sky, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, The Year of the Dog, The Year of the Rat, Dumpling Days, and Ling & Ting, as well as picture books such as The Ugly Vegetables and Dim Sum for Everyone! Grace is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and lives in Massachusetts.

Read an Excerpt

The Year of the Dog

Chapter One

"HAPPY NEW YEAR!" DAD LAUGHED INTO THE phone. "Gong xi-gong xi! Xin-nian kuai le!" The phone had been ringing all night with relatives calling to wish us a happy Chinese New Year. If we had lived in Taiwan, we would be having a big dinner with all of our relatives-aunts, uncles, and cousins. But since we lived in New Hartford, New York, they called us instead.

"Yes," Dad said over the phone to Uncle Leo, "happy Year of the Dog!"

"What does it mean when it's the Year of the Dog?" I asked. Our kitchen was full of rich, heavy smells because Mom and Lissy were cooking the special Chinese New Year dinner. I was teaching Ki-Ki how to draw a dog for our decorations. "I know every Chinese New Year is a different animal, but is something special supposed to happen because it's the Year of the Dog?"

"Yes," Lissy told me, nodding her head so hard that her black hair swung back and forth. Lissy always thought she knew everything. "You know how they say a dog is a man's best friend? Well, in the Year of the Dog you find your best friends."

"That's true," Mom said, her hands mixing speckled brown meat, "because dogs are faithful. They say the Year of the Dog is the year for friends and family. But there's more to it than that. The Year of the Dog is also for thinking. Since dogs are also honest and sincere, it's a good year to find yourself."

"Find myself?" Ki-Ki said. "Why? I'm not lost."

We all laughed and Mom tried to explain.

"No," she said, "finding yourself means deciding what your values are, what you want to do-that kind of thing."

"Like deciding what you want to be when you grow up?" I asked.

"Yes." Mom nodded her head.

"Well," Lissy said, "I've decided I'm definitely NOT going to be a chef, because I'm tired of cooking. We still have to make the shrimp, the pork, and the vegetables. We're never going to eat!" "We will, we will," Mom said, and she looked at the clock. "Pacy, stop drawing and go fill the New Year tray." I went to the cabinet and took out the New Year tray. We had polished it so much that I could see myself shining in the red and black wood. I also took out a bag of the special Chinese New Year candy. It's very important that the New Year tray is filled with candy. If it's full of sweet things, it means your year will be full of sweet things.

Ki-Ki hung up our drawings and then came over to help me, though she didn't really help much. All she did was eat the candy. She loved New Year's candy. I don't know why. It isn't real candy like chocolate or lollipops. New Year's candy is sticky taffy melon candy, the color of the moon. Ki-Ki kept eating the candy, so I couldn't fill the whole tray. I looked in the cupboard for more, but there wasn't any more. But there were rainbow- colored M&M's. I loved M&M's. That's real candy. So I fitted the rest of the tray with that.

When Lissy saw the tray, her mouth made a big 0. "You can't fill the tray with M&M's," she told me. "It's a Chinese tray; only Chinese candy is supposed to go in it."

"But there's not enough Chinese candy to fill it," I told her.

We both looked at the tray. We couldn't decide if it was better to have the tray be half empty with only Chinese candy or full with Chinese and American candy.

Mom was frying food, so we took the tray to Dad. He scooped up a big handful of Chinese candy and M&M's and ate it.

"This way is good," he said. "We should have both Chinese and American candy for the new year. It's just like us-Chinese-American. I think it's going to be a very sweet year!"


Excerpted from The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin Copyright © 2006 by Grace Lin. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Year of the Dog 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 82 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Two young friends, Grace and Melody,hope the the year of the dog will bring them good luck and fortune. Grace also hopes that this will be the year she discovers her talent. Short chapters, clever illustrations and neat stories told by Grace's Mom make this a good book to read in your spare time. Girls might like this book a little better than boys.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a super great book. Grace Lin is super awesome and her memiors are cool, funny, and interesting with her multicultural family. This seiries is great and thia book is the best out of all of them. When Grace was about 10 she had a good friend named Melody. She was asian too. They both knew that the year of the dog meant changes and Lin captures the true spirit of making friends and being different.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great. It inspires you to find yourself and write a book. It shows a family with a great bond. I love the stories inside the story.This story is quite heartwarming and has an extraordinary idea.It inspires girls to take challenges even if they dont win. Grace aka. Pacy went through contests many times she did not give up until she won. Sisters would love to read this book together or alone.Even if you dont have a sister you will love it.This book is one you can not stop reading.All girls will enjoy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What I really liked about this book is that it explained some of the Chinese culture which was very interesting. What I liked best about their culture is that on the Chinese New Year they had real Chinese food and they filled their trays with candy. It was like a little party.
dominirose on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A nice simple book. Short chapters. Sketches. Inspired. Reminds me of Maira Kalman.
SDando on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This was a very cute book. I liked how it was a novel, but it read like a young girls diary. I loved the illustrations in the margins too. I think many girls could relate to this book, whether they are caught between cultures or not.
chris.coelho on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Year of the Dog follows a young girl by the name of Grace. Grace learns about the Chinese New Year, and for this particular book, the author recants her experiences during the Year of the Dog. The book follows typical pre adolescent topics such as friendships, acceptance, crushes, school projects and the like. Overall I thought the book was too corny and I am pretty sure it gave me a tooth ache because it was too sweet. The positive thing about the book was the fact that it took me no time to read. I think this book would be great for pre-adolescent females. (Age 10 or so) I would not have liked this book when I was 10, that's for sure. Overall, I just did not like it. Too cheesy and corny for my taste.
shelf-employed on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The Year of the Dog is a short chapter book for younger J readers. Loosely autobiographical, Lin tells the story of one year in Pacy (Grace, to her schoolmates) Lin's life, the Chinese Year of the Dog. Lin's year begins appropriately on the Chinese New Year holiday, the lucky year of the dog. And indeed, the years begins with luck as another Chinese American girl moves into Pacy's upstate New York neighborhood, and the two girls become fast friends.At first, I read the book waiting for the "big event," the problem moment, the other shoe to drop. But the other shoe doesn't drop; instead, the book is a largely upbeat and realistic look at the everyday issues facing a middle-school aged girl. There is one incident in which Pacy is called a "Twinkie," yellow on the outside/white on the inside, too American to be Chinese/too Chinese to be American. Even Pacy isn't sure if she should call herself Taiwanese or Chinese. It's confusing, but not overwhelming. By and large, the book is a positive look at the life of a young Taiwanese American with a loving family and a good friend. Sprinkled throughout are stories within a story; Grace's mother relates memories from her own childhood as a first generation immigrant. Also adding interest are Lin's numerous pen and ink sketches.Interesting facts about Chinese culture are interspersed throughout the book and the reader will learn a great deal about life as a Chinese American. The melding of the two cultures is dealt with in a humorous manner. When Grace has a sharp pain in her neck, her mother tells her grandmother."'Ah,' Grandma nodded her head at me wisely, 'I know. I fix!'" Grandma takes out a silk box with paints and brush and paints Chinese characters on Grace's neck. "'Leave and tiger will chase pig,' she told me. 'Running will help neck.'" Grandma has painted the Chinese characters for "tiger" and "pig" on the back of Grace's neck. She later asks her mother, "'Will the paint come off? ... I don't want to go to school with 'pig' written on my neck!' 'I'm sure it will,' Mom said, 'but does your neck feel better?'"She thinks for a moment. "'Well, yeah,' I nodded, 'it does!'"The Lin's fill their New Year's candy bowl with Chinese candy mixed with M&Ms; and for Thanksgiving, Mom relents and cooks a small turkey to go alongside the glassy rice noodles, fried shrimp, and meaty dumplings. The book concludes with a Reader's Guide (questions appropriate for a book discussion), and a sneak peek at the next book in the series, Year of the Rat (Jan 2008).
GaylDasherSmith on LibraryThing 8 months ago
When a child comes from a family that embraces their culture, there is an inevitable conflict. This is dealt with here in such a warm, caring way. A wonderful glimpse into Oriental culture.
xubibliobug on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The year of the dog by Grace Lin won YRCA 2009, Junior Division Nominee.Told by her parent, ¿The year of the dog is the best year to find yourself,¿ Pcay, a little Taiwanese-American girl, stars her journey of self-exploration at the beginning of the year: She tries to discover her value, to search for her special talent, then to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. Moving through the next 12 months, it has proven to be a great year: She made a best friend Melody, also coming from Taiwan; they participated in many school activities; together they entered a science fair. She even won fourth place in a national book-writing contest and found her true purpose in life¿. Through Pcay¿s sweet and funny insights, the universal themes of friendship, family, self-discovery and finding passion in life make this novel appealing to readers. Some sensitive topics such as culture shocks and her dual identity are presented in a real and upbeat tone. Some Taiwanese culture, customs and cuisine are interestingly introduced into the book too.Small, captioned and childlike black-and-white drawings are dotted throughout the book. Typeface with a hand-lettered quality adds more charming characters to the book. This humorously touching story, along with cute illustrations, will entertain young readers, especially the girls.
puppies1608 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
this book mwas so amazing it showed that even though you are different it doesn't mean it in a bad way. She wasn't brave enough but she still believed in herself for being her.
mikitchenlady on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This is a semi-autobiographical account of Grace Lin's childhood experiences as a Chinese/Taiwanese American. It is bookended by the Chinese New Year celebrations, with the main focus of the book on the Year of the Dog, which is supposed to be where people find luck. Pacy/Grace wants to be rich and find her luck, and manages to find new friends and a future avocation. I enjoyed this story, especially the little side stories that were incorporated (like how the mother had her hair cut in school, or how they once ate dinner with ghosts). The side bar illustrations are a nice addition too.
stoog on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Grace, you need to learn how to adjust to the world as a Chinese American.
YouthGPL on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Kearsten says: Pacy, told by her family that the Chinese Year of the Dog is the year one is meant to 'find oneself,' sets out to do just that. But when the year is drawing to a close, and she still hasn't discovered her 'talent,' she begins to worry!I've chosen this as one of the books I'll be reading and discussing with my ChickLit book group this summer (for girls going into 3rd, 4th and 5th grades). Pacy struggles not only with friendship and finding her talent, but also with what it means to be one of very few Taiwanese American students. I look forward to discussing these things with the girls this summer. I also plan on sharing Lin's picture book, The Ugly Vegetables, with them, as it plays an important part in The Year of the Dog.
anniecase on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A charming, funny, totally relatable story about a little girl trying to figure out where she belongs. Lin says this is the book she wishes she had had as a child and I do, too! It reinforces the message that you can be anything, inspiring young girls in the process.
mysteena on LibraryThing 8 months ago
As the author states, "Growing up Asian in a mainly Causcasian community was not a miserable and gloomy existence. But it was different. I wrote Year of the Dog, because I felt that it was important to have a book that addressed those differences in a real and upbeat way. I wrote it because it was the book I wished I had had when I was growing up, a book that someone like me in it." She succeeded! This book is cute yet poignant at the same time. I feel certain a fourth grader could read and enjoy this book. Most books about Asian-American life that I've read (and I've read many) have been quite dark. This is the first "upbeat" story I've read and I enjoyed learning about this side of the spectrum. Even when something negative happens in her life, like when her Chinese-American peers accuse her of being a "twinkie" (yellow on the outside and white on the inside), her parents turn it into a teaching opportunity and tell her stories about their own lives to help her feel better. Gone is the spooky, angry, refusing-to-learn-english Mom, or the absentee-father that so usually typifies Asian-American literature. I loved it!
kayceel on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Pacy, told by her family that the Chinese Year of the Dog is the year one is meant to 'find oneself,' sets out to do just that. But when the year is drawing to a close, and she still hasn't discovered her 'talent,' she begins to worry!I've chosen this as one of the books I'll be reading and discussing with my ChickLit book group this summer (for girls going into 3rd, 4th and 5th grades). Pacy struggles not only with friendship and finding her talent, but also with what it means to be one of very few Taiwanese American students. I look forward to discussing these things with the girls this summer. I also plan on sharing Lin's picture book, The Ugly Vegetables, with them, as it plays an important part in The Year of the Dog.
picardopicks on LibraryThing 8 months ago
2009 YRCA Nominee Junior Division2006 ALA Children's Notable2006 National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA) GOLD WinnerIt is Chinese New Year in the Lin household and they are celebrating The Year of the Dog. Grace is the middle daughter and this is her story. Upon hearing the meaning behind The Year of the Dog, Grace decided this is the year she will discover her special talent, become rich, meet new friends and find herself. Grace and her sister Lissy are the only Asian people at their school. Grace doesn¿t like being the only ones, so she is thrilled when Melody who is also Taiwanese-American is new to her class. Grace and Melody become best friends and decide to spend their year in pursuit of finding their talents. Grace enters a nationwide story writing contest, is a munchkin in the school play, goes to Taiwanese summer camp and learns of many stories of her mother¿s past.This is an endearing story of Grace as she tries to figure out who she is as a Taiwanese-American. Grace as the narrator really brings the story and characters to life. Interesting aspects of Asian culture are explained with detailed descriptions of the food, customs and holidays. The back stories of Grace¿s mother and grandparents are insightful to their culture, and show how storytelling is a significant part of Grace¿s upbringing. Kids will love the small drawn pictures that emphasize what is happening in the story. This story shows the unique experience of feeling different coming from another culture, but also recognizing your talents through the support of a loving family.
jasmine84 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This book is just talk about year of the dog. What happen and how it come out to the family in the year of the dog. The picture look like drawing but not that pretty is just simple picture. The book easy to read but is not that fun enough for me to hold the book all day.
Somer on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I wasn't as impressed with this book as I had hoped to be after hearing Grace Lin speak at a library conference last year. The book was entertaining, but it wasn't very exciting. I didn't feel any emotional connection with any of the characters. However, I applaud Ms. Lin for writing a book that Asian American girls can identify with. My husband teachers a lot of Asian girls, and I heard echoes of stories he hears from them throughout the book.
abbylibrarian on LibraryThing 11 months ago
The book starts off at Lunar New Year. It's a new year, the year of the dog, and Pacy Lin is determined that this year will be a lucky year for her. Her goal is to find herself and figure out what her talents are and with a little help from her friends and family, she'll be able to do just that. One day at the library, Pacy laments that there are no books about real Chinese/Taiwanese-Americans like her. When the librarian suggests that she write one, Pacy finally gets an idea for the book contest her school is entering. Based on the author's own childhood, this book is a fun and lively story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm in battle of the books and this is one of our books. I really like this book because japinise people can relate to it so it is not just for americans.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
That is the best
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A heartwarming adventure about culture,family, friends, and hope throuh tough situations.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever