Friday, February 22, 2013

Ruby Lu, Brave and True by Lenore Look, Illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf

Image from
Atheneum Books for Young, 2004

Chinese-American Ruby Lu is almost eight years old and she’s excited about just about everything. She loves her new baby brother, Oscar, and her friends on 20th Avenue South are wonderful. She loves her house, her 2nd grade teacher, and Pohpoh and Gunggung, her grandparents. But Ruby is not so sure about going to Chinese School on Saturdays. And she’s not so sure about Christina, the new girl from sunny California. And most of all, she’s very worried about meeting her cousin, Flying Duck, who is immigrating to the United States from China. In a series of short episodes connected episodes, Ruby makes new friends, puts on magic shows, gets in trouble, and learns that no matter what her friends and family on 20th Avenue South will always love her.

Set in Seattle’s diverse Beacon Hill neighborhood, Look’s text is perfect for new chapter book readers and Wilsdorf’s playful black and white illustrations sprinkled throughout the book are attractive and spirited. Chinese-American terms are defined at the back of the book in “Ruby’s Fantastic Glossary and Pronunciation Guide.” This is a wonderful example of a multicultural book that simultaneously introduces outsiders to the culture and provides a joyful reflection and celebration for readers already inside the culture. But the best thing about this book is Ruby Lu. She’s an inquisitive girl who’s not afraid to be herself. Readers will root for her when she makes new friends and cringe with her when she’s teased by the neighborhood mean girl.

Read an excerpt of the book and fall in love with Ruby Lu.

*Use this for a book club for new chapter book readers. Check out the discussion questions provided by the Tallkin’ Bout Books blog.

*Learn to knit like Ruby’s father in the book. Knitting is a great way for kids to develop fine motor skills.

*Read more about Ruby, her family, and friends:

*Read more chapter books by Lenore Look:

The Clementine series by Sara Pennypacker
The Ivy and Bean series by Annie Barrows
The Ramona series by Beverly Cleary
Year of the Dog by Grace Lin

Age 6+ / Grade 1+


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