2 January 2012, Little, Brown
Nominated for the Cybils by Jama Rattigan
Pacy Lin sets off with her family to Taiwan for an entire month. Her grandmother is turning 60, a very lucky birthday, so the family goes to stay. Her mother and father are glad to be back home, but Pacy feels out of place and would rather be back in the US. She looks Taiwanese, but she doesn't speak the language, and everything seems odd and uncomfortable to her. She does enjoy the food, and manages to eat dumplings at almost every meal. She is enrolled in a traditional painting class, but her usual artistic ability deserts her, and she has a lot of trouble. It doesn't help that there is another girl in the class who gives her a hard time for not embracing traditional Asian values. The family travels a bit to visit more relatives and sees a lot of Taiwan. In the end, Pacy is glad to have visited and is sad when she has to return. Sequel to The Year of the Dog(2005) and The Year of the Rat (2008).
Strengths: This has got to be the best travel book I've see for a while-- such detail about Taiwan! This also doesn't seem as young as the other titles in this series. I'm tempted to buy this one, since it stands alone well.
Weaknesses: While I understand Pacy's use of "American", and the use of this phrase in Taiwan, we have enough students who heritage is from SOUTH America that I try to refer to "US" culture instead of "American" culture, so that bugged me a little.