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The Way Home Looks Now by Wendy Wan-Long…

The Way Home Looks Now

by Wendy Wan-Long Shang

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The last best day 12 year old Peter can remember as a family, before his bright, athletic brother was killed in a car accident, was the occasion of Taiwan’s thrilling victory in the Little League World Series. It’s 1972, and his father had been hard on college-age Nelson, whose ideals occasionally clashed with those of his Chinese-born father. But Nelson’s death turns everything upside down. Peter and younger sister Elaine are worried and feeling insecure due to their mother’s silence and depression. She sits on the couch in front of the flickering television, hours on end. She will, on occasion respond with mostly one word answers. Peter, himself wants to give up on things he once enjoyed, including school and friendships. Then he gets an idea he thinks might pull his mother out of herself. She has always loved baseball, particularly the Pittsburgh Pirates. After joining a team he believes he can offer his mother: baseball. When Ba, as Peter calls his father, steps up to coach Peter’s team, Peter learns to his astonishment that not only does his father know the game, but he also has depths of courage and fairness Peter had not realized, even in the face of occasional, casual bigotry. His father offers support to a boy on the team who is bullied at home, and he finds a way to let another talented player stay with the team.

This is a fine story of family, loss, growing up and learning to play as a team. raised to a higher level. ( )
  jothebookgirl | Jan 3, 2017 |
This is a very slow book and with the vast numbers of middle school novels out there, I found this difficult to get into my student's hands and keep them interested. Kind stereotypical of an Asian American community from the 80's. ( )
  MrNattania | Oct 29, 2016 |
THE WAY HOME LOOKS NOW by Wendy Wan-Long Shang follows Peter Lee as he struggles with the accidental death of his brother, his mother’s overwhelming grief, and his traditional Chinese father’s role as Little League baseball coach. Set in 1972, this outstanding work of realistic fiction masterfully addresses key societal issues of the times including Vietnam War protests, political connections with Taiwan, and the Women’s Movement from a child’s perspective.

Realistic fiction for middle-grades tends to be polarized between humorous school stories and deadly serious issues tomes. Shang masterfully balances the popular topic of baseball with a compassionate examination of family grief and social issues of the 1970s. Few books effectively address the impact of the women’s movement on everyday life in America. Shang is successful in weaving this theme throughout the work without being preachy.

With a Lexile measure of 650L but an interest level through middle school, the author provides a easy-to-read book that can be enjoyed over many grade levels. Librarians can look forward to a broad audience for this book. Baseball lovers will be attracted to the action sequences, while history fans will enjoy the references to life in the 1970s. Teachers will enjoy using this book as part of a shared class experience.

Shang was awarded the Asian Pacific American Literature award for The Great Wall of Lucy Wu. Look for THE WAY HOME LOOKS NOW to be on the short list for this year’s award.

To learn more about the author, go to http://www.wendyshang.com/.

Published by Scholastic on April 28, 2015. ( )
  eduscapes | Apr 28, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0545609569, Hardcover)

From the award-winning author of THE GREAT WALL OF LUCY WU comes a beautifully written and poignant story of family and loss, healing and friendship, and the great American pastime, baseball.

Twelve-year-old Peter Lee and his family are baseball lovers, who bond over back lot games and talk of the Pittsburgh Pirates. But when tragedy strikes, the family flies apart and baseball no longer seems to matter. Is that true? Peter wonders if just maybe the game they love can pull them together and bring them back, safe at home.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:14 -0400)

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