Apple Pie 4th of July

by Janet S. Wong and Margaret Chodos-Irvine

Chinese food on the 4th of July? The young Chinese American narrator of this lively,... read more

Chinese food on the 4th of July? The young Chinese American narrator of this lively, poetic, wonderfully paced picture book can’t believe her parents think anyone will come into their store for Chinese food on such a thoroughly American holiday. “Even though my father has lived here / since he was twelve, / even though my mother loves apple pie, / I cannot expect them to know / Americans / do not eat Chinese food / on the Fourth of July.” Just as she suspected, the day crawls along with few customers. Those that do stop by purchase matches and soda and potato chips, not sweet-and-sour pork and egg rolls. Janet S. Wong perfectly captures the mood and emotions of a first-generation child who wants to fit in. At the same time, she gracefully extends the young girl’s—and readers’ -- notion of what an American holiday can look like, and what an American tradition can be, when the child discovers her parents were right after all—Americans, themselves included, do eat Chinese food on the Fourth of July. Margaret Chodos-Irvine’s bright, bold graphics complement a story that may be especially resonant for children in immigrant families but has far broader importance. Some readers and listeners may need additional information to fully appreciate the young girl’s perspective. Highly Commended, 2003 Charlotte Zolotow Award (Ages 6-9)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2003

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