Saturday, July 6, 2013
Flying the Dragon
Natalie Dias Lorenzi's novel does a great job of capturing what it must feel like to be new to a country, something she has some experience with having lived in a few foreign countries herself. Lorenzi is also an ELL teacher, and I could see how her experiences with her students have also contributed to her writing.
Skye and Hiroshi are cousins who alternate in telling their stories. Skye's father is from Japan, but she has never visited the country or her relatives there. Although she may look Asian and can speak a bit of Japanese, she is decidedly American.
Hiroshi moves with his parents and grandfather (Skye's uncle and grandfather) to the United States in order for his grandfather to be treated for cancer. Although Skye is the same age as he is, she is embarrassed by her Japanese cousin who is confused by the different meanings of words and doesn't quite "get" the American lifestyle. Hiroshi doesn't necessarily appreciate Skye all the time, either, feeling that when she joins him and Grandfather to fly kites, he cannot talk with Grandfather like he could if they were alone.
As Grandfather's treatments progress Hiroshi and Skye must find a way to lean on each other, despite their differences.
Flying the Dragon is a great tween book that captures the experiences of multicultural families in our country and the struggles to assimilate to our culture while still retaining some of your native traditions.