Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin

The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin
Grades 4-5
January 2008

Snack idea: Chinese candy and/or M&Ms and oranges

1. Taiwanese vs. Chinese--a brief history and map
History in a nut shell (using information from Britannica online)
Japan controlled Taiwan after a war with mainland China in 1895. After losing WWII in
1945, Japan gave the island back to mainland China. Following WWII China had civil war between the Nationalists (previously in control) and the Communists. In 1950s the Communists (called the People's Republic of China) began to control the mainland and the Nationalists moved their head of government (called the Republic of China) to Taiwan. Also at this time, the United States became involved in the Korean War, fighting communists in that country. The United States sent naval troops to protect the Nationalists from the Communist mainland China. Today both governments consider themselves to be the official China, hence the confusion over whether immigrants from this area should call themselves Chinese-Americans or Taiwanese Americans.

Map of Taiwan

Map of China

2. Chinese zodiac: Parents and children see what year they are

3. Why do you think Grace made up the story of Unicorn Day?
Why do you think Melody went along with the story?

4. How are Pacy and Melody alike? Different? Why do you think they are best friends?

5. Have you ever been in a science fair? What experiment did you try? (would like to try...)

6. Explain which you think is more important in life: luck or hard work
(research about boys thinking luck and girls thinking hard work...)

7. Can you think of any famous Chinese-Americans in movies, books, sports, etc? Why do you think there aren't more stories/movies/etc with Chinese characters?

8. At the Red Egg Party, "Have You Eaten Yet" means "How are you."
What do the following English expressions really mean:

Two peas in a pod
Bite the hand that feeds you
Have a ball
Spitting image
Pick someone's brains
Walk on eggshells
Piece of cake
In a pickle
Apple of your eye

9. Have you ever been to camp? What kinds of things did you do there?
Has anyone ever been mean to you at school or camp? What did you do?

10. Do you have any friends whose families are from a different country? What are some of their languages, traditions or foods?

11. What's the best costume you've ever seen?

12. What do you want to be when you grow up? Why?

13. How will you/do you celebrate New Year at your house?

14. Which story was your favorite?
-story of grandpa getting rich
--story of mom falling asleep in school
--story of Pacy's school name
--paper piano
--mom's first day of school
--melody sits on a ghost
--mom's first American Friend
--Uncle Shin and the cake
--Mom's school hair cut

Other books to bring to the discussion:
Books by Ruth Chew
Five Chinese brothers
Picture books, especially Ugly Vegetable by Grace Lin
science fair books

Grace Lin's web site:
Includes author biography and fun facts, also activity ideas

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