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In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson

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Author: Bette Bao Lord

Illustrator: Marc Simont

Life in America is harder than Shirley Temple Wong could have ever expected. Even though her classmates in Brooklyn come from a variety of backgrounds, Shirley is the only one who doesn't speak English, and she worries that she will never have a friend. Then she gets in a fight with Mabel, the tallest, scariest girl in the fifth grade. Even though Shirley winds up with two black eyes, she's faithful to the unspoken code of childhood and doesn't tell anyone what happened.

Her silence gains her the respect and friendship of Mabel, who introduces her to something that will change her life: baseball. Soon Shirley is the biggest Brooklyn Dodgers fan of all, listening to the radio to hear the triumphs and heartbreaks of the team and her hero, Jackie Robinson. Meanwhile, she takes piano lessons from her landlord, Señora Rodriguez, and saves money by baby-sitting Mrs. O'Reilly's triplets. She begins to feel at home, and yet deep within herself Shirley discovers that she wants to hold on to her memories of China, and the knowledge that she is Chinese inside, as well as American. 

In the hands of acclaimed author Bette Bao Lord, who based this remarkable novel on her own experiences as a young immigrant, Shirley's story resonates with hope, poignancy, and that special mixture of humor and seriousness that characterizes a child's view of childhood. Shirley is a heroine readers will cheer for - and miss when they've turned the last page. Black-and-white illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Marc Simont are a wonderful addition to the text, capturing all the excitement and emotion within.