for more information contact
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|PUBLICATION DETAILS:||Cloth: 136 pages. 1992. $13.95 (ISBN 0-316-59701-5). Little, Brown. Paper: $3.50 (ISBN 0-440-40917-9). Dell.|
|GENRES:||Contemporary realistic fiction, humor, multicultural, sports|
|THEMES:||Friendship, Chinese-Americans, family life, moving, music, talent, violins, baseball, fathers and sons, love, immigration, individuality, self-acceptance, loneliness, homesickness, language, discrimination, prejudice, lip-syncing, cultural diversity, customs, unemployment|
|INTEREST LEVEL:||Third through sixth grade|
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. 45(10):272 June 1992. Roger Sutton. (Recommended)
The Horn Book Magazine. 68(4):452-53 July/August 1992. Nancy Vasilakis. (Starred review)
"Namioka uses their [Yang and Matthew's] growing friendship to explore cultural differences and the problems of adjustment to a new society with a light but sure touch. Warm, humorous black-and-white sketches illuminate each character with casual, but astute, perception. Simpler and less incisive than Bette Bao Lord's In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson (HarperCollins, 1984) which is set in an earlier era, this multicultural music and sports story will have a broad appeal for young readers." School Library Journal. 38(7):74 July 1992. Margaret A. Chang. (Starred review)
Yang the Eldest drew his bow across his violin strings, and a shower of sparkling notes fell over the room. Yang the Second Eldest drew her bow across her viola strings, and a rainbow of notes hung brightly in the air. Yang the Third Eldest drew her bow across her cello strings, and a wave of deep, mellow notes washed over us. Yang the Youngest--that's me--drew my bow across my violin strings, and it went SCREECH. (page 3, hardback edition)That's how Yang the Youngest and His Terrible Ear begins. However will it end?
When [Matthew] came out of the bathroom, he looked shocked. "Was I seeing things, or were there really fish swimming in your bathtub?" "That's just some carp my mother bought in Chinatown today. We're having them for dinner tonight." "But they're alive!" "Of course they're alive!" I snorted. "My mother would never buy dead fish. They're not fresh. "I've never had live fish," Matthew said, as we went downstairs. "The fish I eat are nice and dead." (page 32, hardback edition)The fish in Yang's bathtub are one of the differences between he and Matthew. You'll find out some of the similarities when you read Yang the Youngest and His Terrible Ear by Lensey Namioka.
Students can learn about the Chinese alphabet and characters by using Leonard Everett Fisher's Alphabet Art (Four Winds, 1978) and Peggy Goldstein's Long is a Dragon: Chinese Writing for Children (Pacific View Press, 3011 Acton Street, Berkeley, CA 94702).
Students can create their own list as they read Yang the Youngest... and then write about American customs that may seem unusual to people from other cultures. Additionally, students can interview adults who have immigrated from other countries to learn about other unique national customs.
Introduce students to the symphony using The Philharmonic Gets Dressed by Karla Kuskin (Harper, 1982), A Pianist's Debut: Preparing for the Concert Stage by Barbara Beirne (Carolrhoda, 1990), Meet the Orchestra by Ann Hayes (HBJ, 1991), and I Like Music by Leah Komaiko (HarperCollins, 1987).
Provide a game called "Music Maestro II" (Aristoplay, $25), which is designed for players of all ages. They can discover look, sounds, and functions of 48 instruments, Jazz, bluegrass, folk, rock, and classical instruments. Two accompanying tapes were created by musicians at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music.
Chinese cookbooks include Cooking the Chinese Way by Ling Yu (Lerner, 1982), The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking by Barbara Tropp (Morrow, 1992), or The Encyclopedia of Chinese Cooking by Kenneth H.C. Lo (Exeter Books, 1985).
Make some fortune cookies with the following recipe after students have written original fortunes: 1/2 cup flour, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup butter or margarine melted, whites of 4 large eggs, 2 tablespoons milk, 2 teaspoons almond extract. Heat oven to 325°. In a bowl combine flour, sugar, cornstarch and salt. With fork or wire whisk beat in melted butter, egg whites, milk and almost extract until batter is smooth. Drop batter, 1 tablespoon at a time, onto buttered, heavy non stick baking sheet. Space batter 3 inches apart; batter will spread while baking. Bake 8 to 10 minutes until edges are golden brown. With large metal spatula, working quickly, remove cookies from baking sheet. Gently slip onto smooth kitchen towel. Place one fortune paper in center of each warm cookies. Quickly folk each cookie in half, pressing edges to seal. For beautiful cookies it is important for them to be warm and pliable while folding and shaping. Immediately fold one cookie over edge of a bowl. Press about 30 seconds until cookie holds its shape. Repeat. From Redbook Magazine, August 1985, pages 124-25. For another fortune cookie recipe see Glamour, February 1984, pages 42-43.