The Secret of the Jade Bangle

Annick. (The Nguyen Kids: Bk. 1). Oct. 2022. 128p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781773217154.
Gr 1-4–Nine-year-old Anne Nguyen is struggling with pressures within her Vietnamese family, at school, and at her beloved dance class. She feels overwhelmed by the need to do well in school, to honor her ancestors, and to succeed in ballet—something her mother dreamed of for herself. The recent death of her grandmother adds to her internal turmoil. When she’s given her grandmother’s jade bangle, something very special happens. Her grandmother begins to visit her and to teach her how to cook all the traditional dishes from Vietnam, something she regrets not having done with Anne’s father. Through their otherwordly interactions, Anne receives guidance and support from her grandmother. When her ballet teacher begins making racist comments to her and about her in class, Anne uses her newfound strength to stand up for herself. Even her ballet rival comes to her defense. This story is a testament to standing up for yourself, standing up for your friends and family, and honoring your heritage.
VERDICT This is a sweet title that handles the concepts surrounding racism as experienced by younger children in a relatable and age-appropriate way; it should be considered for all chapter book collections.

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