Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Only One Year

I know I've given a good bit of space on this blog to books by my friends, but can I help it if I have such talented friends?

I missed the debut date of Andrea Cheng's latest book, Only One Year, but wanted to be sure to add my congratulations and encourage anyone who hasn't yet encountered this book or Andrea to check it out:
Sharon can hardly believe the news. Di Di, her two-year-old brother, is being taken to China to spend a year with their grandparents. Why can’t he go to day care or be watched by a babysitter when Mama goes back to work? Sharon wonders. But her parents say it is better for relatives to take care of little children.

After Di Di first leaves, Sharon and her younger sister, Mary, pore over the photographs their grandma sends, trying to keep their little brother fresh in their minds. As the year passes, the girls become involved with school, friends, and hobbies. They think of Di Di less often. Then one day he is home again, and it feels as if a stranger has entered their lives. The children struggle to sort out their mixed emotions but soon discover that the bonds among siblings hold strong.

This reassuring story is a gentle tribute to the enduring love of family, even when it is tested by a difficult choice.
Andrea's voice is one of the most confident and musical I've ever encountered. In this story, as always, she takes a gentle hand to the emotional life of a family. Horn Book said, "Cheng’s tender story reminds us that there are many ways to raise children." I certainly agree.