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.