The Way Home Looks Now

by Wendy Wan-Long Shang

Peter’s Taiwanese American family is struggling since the death of his older... read more

Peter’s Taiwanese American family is struggling since the death of his older brother, Nelson. Peter, Nelson, and their mother shared a love of baseball, so Peter tries out for a team in hopes it will spark his mother’s interest since she’s so sad she rarely leaves the couch. But it’s Ba who gets involved, volunteering to coach Peter’s team. Angry with his father, who argued with Nelson about the Vietnam War and can’t make things at home better, Peter is now embarrassed by him as a coach. But it turns out Ba has been paying attention to baseball—he even played as a boy—and to what’s happening at home more than Peter knew. Grounded in the perspective of a child in a family working through grief, this novel also succeed as an accessible, engaging sports story that addresses changing social norms in the 1970s. When one of the team’s best players, Aaron, turns out to be Erin (a girl), parents threaten to pull their sons from the team. Ba leaves it up to the kids to decide if she should stay. Meanwhile, there are moments when Peter’s mother shows a spark, but baseball is not a magic cure. “Time,” says Ba. Nuanced characters, including Peter’s mother and Nelson, both developed in flashbacks, are among the story’s many strengths. (Ages 8–11)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2016

show less