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The Year of the Dog
by Grace Lin
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1.This book talks about the importance of various types of food in Chinese/Taiwanese culture. Are certain foods special in your culture or family?
2.If you got a special red envelope with money, would you spend it or save it? What would you like to buy?
3.Grace is trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. What do you think you'd like to do?
4.Grace is "Grace" at school and "Pacy" at home. Do you have a special name at home that's different from your school name?
5.Grace and her family celebrate various holidays throughout the year. What's your favorite holiday? Why?
6.What are some of Graces family traditions? Why are these traditions important to Grace and her parents? Does your family have any special traditions?
7.Grace and Melody quickly become best friends. Do you think this is because they are both Taiwanese-American? How do their similar backgrounds help them become such good friends?
8.Grace and Melody thought that their science fair project proved that plants prefer soda over water, milk and orange juice, but Mr. McKnealy pointed out that their experiment was flawed because the plants were not kept in a controlled environment. Have you ever thought you made an important discover, only to be proved wrong? Did Grace and Melody learn anything from their experiment, even though it was flawed?
9.Graces mom tells her that the Year of the Dog is the year that people are supposed to find themselves. Grace spends the whole year trying to discover her talent. It is not until she wins a prize for her book that she realizes she wants to be an author/illustrator when she grows up. Do you think she would have still discovered that if she had not won a prize?
10.Grace is excited to try out for the part of Dorothy in the school play, until one of her classmates tells her that there cant be a Chinese Dorothy. Grace is very discouraged and doesnt try out at all. Do you agree that Grace shouldnt be Dorothy just because shes Asian? How would this make you feel if you were Grace?
11.Graces mom tells her many stories from her childhood. How was her childhood different from Graces? Ask your parents about their childhoods. How are they different from yours?
12.Grace is quite interested in the symbolism of the Year of the Dog. Because dogs are loyal, true, and friendly, the Year of the Dog is a good year for friends, family, and being true to yourself. Find out what year you were born according to the lunar calendar. What are the characteristics of that year? Do these words describe you well?
13.Grace is made fun of because she cant speak Chinese or Taiwanese. Why do you think the girls made fun of her? Do you think this was right? How would you feel if you were Grace?
14.Theres a sequel to this book called The Year of the Rat. Do you think youd like to read it?
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