Title: The Year of the Baby
Author: Andrea Cheng
Major Themes: Friendship, Family, Adoption, China
Synopsis: Anna’s baby sister is not eating, and therefore not growing, and Anna needs a project for the science fair—can she solve both problems at once?
After having The Year of the Baby on our shelf for a year and a half or so, we finally got around to reading it. What a delightful story! My seven-year-old daughter chose it for her read-aloud, and everyone ended up enjoying it. I like realistic books that we can picture happening.
Anna’s parents have recently adopted Kaylee, from China. Anna loves her new baby sister, and Kaylee loves Anna. Anna is able to calm Kaylee down when nobody else seems to be able to. However, Kaylee is not growing. She does not want to eat. What can Anna do to help the baby?
Meanwhile, Anna has other problems. She is doing well in Chinese school, learning to speak Chinese with her friends, but she can’t come up with a project for the school’s science fair. What can she and her friends possibly come up with for that? She doesn’t want to do a project out of a book—but how can she come up with her own? Then one day, she has a great idea that might solve both problems at once!
There is so much to love about The Year of the Baby. Anna has learned a lot about being friends over the past year, and continues to learn. She is also now learning about being a big sister and how to love the baby and care for her. This book mainly focuses on family relationships, but also on friendship. It also includes blending cultures, since Anna and her family are Chinese, living in the United States, as well as adoption. I highly recommend this book as a family read-aloud and for children who enjoy gentle stories to read to themselves.
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8, Family Friendly
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12