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Thanks to Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts for this meme!


This year, I decided to read all of Grace Lin’s books that I hadn’t yet. I’ve been a fan since I read Where the Mountain Meets the Moon back in 2012. (The second book in that series Starry River of the Sky is one of my 53 favorite books of all time!) Over the years, I’ve read more books by her and have enjoyed them so I figured why not just read everything she’s done. I’ve also been a fan of her podcast Book Friends Forever with her friend and editor Alvina Ling which I’m a patron of!

This was what I was working with at the beginning of the year…

0206-6
I would find some books I didn’t include (mostly when she was the illustrator but not the author) and make a correction with one of the titles and will take one off because it’s out of print and may not have actually been widely available to begin with.

Without further ado, here are the reviews…

Where the Mountain Meets the MoonWhere the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I first working at a children’s bookstore (back in 2012) and asked kids which books they would recommend to me, this was one of the more popular titles so, of course, I had to read it. Luckily, I loved it and it’s become one of my favorite books to recommend to others. I say it’s a cross between The Wizard of Oz and The Chronicles of Narnia but with Chinese fairy tales and folk tales interwoven into the main story. Plus, there are beautiful woodcut illustrations throughout.

(Read in October 2012)

Starry River of the SkyStarry River of the Sky by Grace Lin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Grace Lin recaptures the magic of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon in this equally enchanting tale of a boy in search of the missing moon and himself. It’s about the magic in the stories we tell others and ourselves. It’s also about family and forgiveness.

(Read in August 2013)

When the Sea Turned to SilverWhen the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my favorite middle grade of 2016! I love the entire series, comparing it often to The Wizard of Oz. Grace Lin manages to get better with each book. I love the smaller stories of Chinese fairy tales and folk tales interwoven to the larger narrative and the moment every time the connections are made. The illustrations are stunning as well.

The Year of the DogThe Year of the Dog by Grace Lin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’d been meaning to read this for awhile now since I love the Where the Mountain Meets the Moon series and enjoyed most of her other books as well and am such a fan of the Book Friends Forever podcast. This was like getting to visit with old friends even though you may never have actually met in person. In addition to seeing how their friendship began and getting to read an entertaining story with Asian characters, I enjoyed the sort of behind the scenes glimpse of becoming a writer and where ideas come from.

The Year of the RatThe Year of the Rat by Grace Lin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved getting to visit Pacy’s world in this sequel to The Year of the Dog.

The Year of the Rat brings a lot of changes to Pacy’s life including her best friend moving away to the opposite end of the country. Navigating all new scenarios through her lens seemed very realistic and relatable.

I can’t wait to read the final book in the series eventually but already I know I’d want more to read about Pacy and her family and friends- maybe her and Melody would grow up to have a podcast together where they can talk about books and what’s going on in their lives!

Dumpling DaysDumpling Days by Grace Lin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The final installment in the semi autobiographical middle grade series serves as a culinary travelogue as Pacy and her family go to Taiwan over the summer. While she enjoys spending time with her extended family , she can’t help but feel like she doesn’t really fit in since all she’s known is America. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again but I wouldn’t mind reading more of Pacy’s life.

Ling & Ting

Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! (Ling & Ting, #1)Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! by Grace Lin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I decided to reread this book as I prepared to read the entire Ling & Ting series as part of my Grace Lin Reading Challenge for the year. I’m surprised how much more I enjoyed it than the first time. I really appreciated the simplicity and the structure of Grace Lin’s storytelling style that was able to infuse humor, surprise, and a cohesiveness that readers of all ages will enjoy.

(First read June 2016; Originally 3 stars)

Ling & Ting Share a Birthday (Ling & Ting, #2)Ling & Ting Share a Birthday by Grace Lin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m reading the entire Ling & Ting series as part of my Grace Lin Reading Challenge for the year. I really appreciated the simplicity and the structure of Grace Lin’s storytelling style that was able to infuse humor, surprise, and a cohesiveness that readers of all ages will enjoy.

Ling & Ting: Twice as SillyLing & Ting: Twice as Silly by Grace Lin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m reading the entire Ling & Ting series as part of my Grace Lin Reading Challenge for the year. I really appreciated the simplicity and the structure of Grace Lin’s storytelling style that was able to infuse humor, surprise, and a cohesiveness that readers of all ages will enjoy.

Ling & Ting: Together in All Weather (Ling & Ting, #4)Ling & Ting: Together in All Weather by Grace Lin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m reading the entire Ling & Ting series as part of my Grace Lin Reading Challenge for the year. I really appreciated the simplicity and the structure of Grace Lin’s storytelling style that was able to infuse humor, surprise, and a cohesiveness that readers of all ages will enjoy.

I read these board books in October 2020. I loved the diversity in the illustrations and the fun way of introducing mathematical concepts to the youngest of readers. The titles are also available in English/Spanish bilingual editions.

The Ugly VegetablesThe Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Absolutely delightful. I can see why this story is still going strong after all these years. Great to include in garden-themed collections.

A Big Mooncake for Little StarA Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read an advanced copy of this picture book in late 2017 and I was blown away the illustrations. There will lots of details to observe and enjoy. It’s a sweet story between a mother and a daughter incorporating both preparing a special treat and learning about the phases of the moon.

A Big Bed for Little SnowA Big Bed for Little Snow by Grace Lin

A companion to A Big Mooncake for Little Star and homage to The Snowy Day, Grace Lin offers a wintry bedtime story.

Dim Sum for Everyone!Dim Sum for Everyone! by Grace Lin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A fun read-aloud showcasing the delights of dim sum.

Fortune Cookie FortunesFortune Cookie Fortunes by Grace Lin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pacy’s family is back and this time they’re enjoying Chinese food! Pacy ponders if their fortunes will come true. Includes backmatter information of the possible origins of fortune cookies.

Bringing In the New YearBringing In the New Year by Grace Lin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A simple look about how one family ushers in the Lunar New Year. A fun read-aloud with a fold-out surprise.

Thanking the Moon: Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Moon FestivalThanking the Moon: Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival by Grace Lin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fun introduction on how one family celebrates the mid-autumn moon festival. Includes backmatter going into a little bit more detail on the traditions and customs.

 

Kite FlyingKite Flying by Grace Lin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The family from some of Grace Lin’s other books is back and ready to have some fun. Includes some backmatter information on the significance of kite flying in China.

 

Okie, Dokie ArtichokieOkie, Dokie Artichokie by Grace Lin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A cute story about two neighbors and a misunderstanding. A package delivered to the wrong place helps sort things out.

Olvina FliesOlvina Flies by Grace Lin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An interesting series featuring Olvina the chicken (in more ways than one). This time she faces her fear of flying.

Olvina SwimsOlvina Swims by Grace Lin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An interesting series featuring Olvina the chicken (in more ways than one). This time she faces her fear of swimming.

The Red Thread: An Adoption Fairy TaleThe Red Thread: An Adoption Fairy Tale by Grace Lin
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is a wonderful example of how times have changed. Back when this was first published, I would have loved that this kind of story existed. The intention is sweet and tugs at the heart. But, now, it just hits differently.

Robert's SnowRobert’s Snow by Grace Lin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun winter story about a little mouse excited about snow and the surprise visitor who helps him when he’s caught out in the cold.

Lissy's FriendsLissy’s Friends by Grace Lin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For some reason, I missed including this on my Grace Lin reading challenge so I’m glad I ran across this picture book. A lonely girl folds origami animals to make up for the friends she doesn’t have. 

These Christmas board books were hard to find. I read each set of three individually but they were apparently available in these editions with CDs of songs performed by Peggo & Paul.

Christmas Carols: Lets All Sing! features Away in a Manger, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, and Silent Night and a cast of human characters. Again, it’s having the main characters people of color makes it unique. The last two titles were reissued a year or so ago.

Merry Christmas: Lets All Sing! features Deck the Halls, Jingle Bells, and The Twelve Days of Christmas. The cast of animal friends makes these board books fun.

Mulan: Before the SwordMulan: Before the Sword by Grace Lin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I actually put off reading this novel because I was worried some of Grace Lin’s storytelling style would be somehow diminished since this was under Disney’s supervision. But I needn’t have worried. I soon found myself magically swept into the story.

She Persisted: Maya LinShe Persisted: Maya Lin by Grace Lin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Grace Lin gets to tell architect Maya Lin’s story as part of the She Persisted series.


Co-Authored Books

I Am an American: The Wong Kim Ark StoryI Am an American: The Wong Kim Ark Story by Martha Brockenbrough
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This nonfiction picture book tells another piece of American history that I’m sure not a lot of people were familiar with nor taught about in school.

Our SeasonsOur Seasons by Grace Lin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Grace Lin writes the haiku and does the art work for this picture book following four kids throughout the seasons. Ranida T. McKneally provides the facts behind the topics.

Our Food: A Healthy Serving of Science and PoemsOur Food: A Healthy Serving of Science and Poems by Grace Lin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Grace Lin writes the haiku, Ranida T. McKneally provides the facts behind the topics, and Grace Zong does the art work for this picture book about the food groups and “healthy” eating. Somehow, the information being presented was giving me 80’s/ early 90’s vibe.

Illustrations Only

When You Grow Up to Vote: How Our Government Works for YouWhen You Grow Up to Vote: How Our Government Works for You by Eleanor Roosevelt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This updated edition of how the government works features illustrations by Grace Lin which is why I picked it up in the first place. But the more I learn about Eleanor Roosevelt and the things she did (including creating this primer of sorts for kids), I’m just amazed.

Round is a Mooncake: A Book of ShapesRound is a Mooncake: A Book of Shapes by Roseanne Thong
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun primer about shapes.

Red is a Dragon: A Book of ColorsRed is a Dragon: A Book of Colors by Roseanne Thong
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun primer about colors.

One Is a Drummer: A Book of NumbersOne Is a Drummer: A Book of Numbers by Roseanne Thong
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fun rhyming text with lively illustrations from the same team who did Red is a Dragon and Round is a Mooncake.

The Seven Chinese SistersThe Seven Chinese Sisters by Kathy Tucker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A cute story- a retelling of a Chinese folk tale- about a dragon stealing the baby sister and the other six sisters going to save her. I decided to read this as part of my Grace Lin Reading Challenge even though she didn’t before this one. It’s great when an illustrator has a signature style.

Where on Earth Is My Bagel?Where on Earth Is My Bagel? by Frances Park
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun little story about a boy in Korea suddenly craving a New York style bagel. When the pigeon he sends to order one fails to deliver, he turns to the people in his neighborhood for help. I thought this would include the recipe.

The Big Buck AdventureThe Big Buck Adventure by Shelley Gill
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A rather frantic financial fiasco involving a girl deciding how to spend her dollar.

One Year in BeijingOne Year in Beijing by Xiaohong Wang
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As some of you may or may not know already, I’m hoping to read all of Grace Lin’s bibliography this year. I seem to be constantly coming across picture books that I didn’t realize she illustrated including this one!

The Jade NecklaceThe Jade Necklace by Paul Yee
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A fascinating story I probably wouldn’t have known about if it weren’t illustrated by Grace Lin- and even then that would have been iffy since I didn’t even know she had done the art in this book.

A New Roof (Rookie Readers)A New Roof by Cari Meister
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A boy watches workers put up a new roof after a particularly rainy day.

One For Me, One For YouOne For Me, One For You by C.C. Cameron
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A simple story of counting and sharing.

View all my reviews

I picked up the following anthologies because Grace Lin contributed to them…

Flying Lessons & Other Lessons edited by Ellen Oh. Grace Lin’s contribution is “The Difficult Path.”

Flying Lessons & Other StoriesFlying Lessons & Other Stories by Ellen Oh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great anthology that not only showcases diversity but will give readers an introduction to some of the finest YA writers around right now. I hope people will enjoy the stories and that they will reflect on their own stories- the ones that they alone can tell shaped by their unique background and culture and experiences.

The Talk: Conversations About Race, Love & Truth edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson. Grace Lin’s contribution is “Not a China Doll.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evqbXic_vBE

Our Story Begins: Your Favorite Authors and Illustrators Share Fun, Inspiring, and Occasionally Ridiculous Things They Wrote and Drew as Kids edited by Elissa Brent Weissman- It was so fun to read what inspired some kidlit creators to start writing and/or drawing. Grace Lin shared the story that won her fourth place in a writing contest when she was in elementary school that she alluded to in The Year of the Rat. I enjoyed art pieces of a young Dan Santat and a young Brian Selznick as well as journal entries from camp kid Tim Federle.

The Creativity Project: An Awesometastic Story Collection edited by Colby Sharp- People from the Book World and the Education field take turns giving one another story ideas and coming up with their own. For Grace Lin’s short story, I was impressed how different her voice and subject is and would love to see her venture more into this territory. I enjoyed the prompt responses by Sophie Blackall, Dan Santat, and Victoria Jamieson.

Been There, Done That edited by Mike Winchell. A write what you know prompt followed by an original story. Grace Lin shares a funny story inspired by her mom’s travel to the US. I also read Nathan Hale’s contributions involving a costume.

And, that’s it. I think I got everything. Please let me know if I missed anything.

The only ones I wasn’t able to get my hands on were Robert’s Snowflakes and My Favorite Foods (written by Dana Meachen Rau).

I’m excited for her upcoming releases in 2023- and beyond!

Thanks for reading my blog! Happy Reading!

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3 thoughts on “My Reading Week #IMWAYR- December 19, 2022 / Grace Lin Book Reviews

  1. Whew! This was a lot of work, but what a great idea! This certainly gives you a really good understanding of the entire scope of Lin’s work, and I love your record keeping. I’ll be lucky if I use my new spreadsheet to just figure out how many books I read in each genre/age group/format. Have a great week!

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