Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Happy Book Birthday, Amy Wu and the Warm Welcome by Kat Zhang!

 I love being able to shout-out books on their release day...weird? Probably, but it is exciting to see a book finally hit the world. Writing a book takes so much time, effort, and, literally, enough people to get it out onto the shelves and beyond that it's like having a small army. Plus, so many things can and do go wrong along the way. So, I find it an extra special moment to be able to help someone shout out their latest accomplishment...plus, it's a new book for young readers to explore!

Today's read is the 3rd (I think it's the 3rd) in a series. I did read the first one and enjoyed it quite a bit. The 2nd one, somehow, whizzed by me, but I was able to catch this one! I remember Amy Wu, the main character, to be the sweetest little girl. Ready to see if she still is?


AMY WU AND THE WARM WELCOME
by Kat Zhang
Illustrated by Charlene Chua
Simon & Schuster
Picture Book
40 pages
ages 4 to 8


Amy Wu does her best to make her new classmate feel welcome in this warmhearted and playfully illustrated follow-up picture book to Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao and Amy Wu and the Patchwork Dragon.

Amy’s class has a new student from China! Amy tries hard to make Lin feel included, but she can’t draw him out of his shell. Then she sees Lin chattering happily in Chinese with his family. The gears in her head start to turn, and a plan blossoms. Step one: invite Lin to her dumpling party…

​With a little help from her grandma and a shiny new banner, can Amy give Lin the warmest welcome?


GOODREADS   /    BOOK DEPOSITORY   /    AMAZON 

B&N    /    ABE BOOKS


MY TIDBITS

Making a new friend takes on a nice and important twist, while keeping kindness and warmth front and center.

There's a new boy in Amy Wu's class, and she can't wait to become friends with him. While he's nice and smiles quite a bit, he never says a word. When Amy hears him talking to his sister in Chinese after school, she realizes what the problem might be. With her parents' help and a bit of guidance from her grandmother, she might find a way to connect with the boy after all.

The plot on this one is pretty straight forward and adds the familiar feeling of uncertainty to make it sit with young listeners/readers. The situation of having a new kid in school and the excitement of meeting them is something many readers can relate to, but it's the nervous reaction of the boy, who tries his best to be friendly...and is..., which makes it touch the heart. Then, the author turns it around, leaving the nervousness to sit on Amy. It's a lovely back and forth, which also shows how easy it is to make new friends once stepping beyond this anticipation.

Of course, this one spins around a child, who can't yet speak English. This is something, which happens more and more often, and even if not every child will have this experience, the message swings broad enough to keep it understandable and relate to other situations. All of the characters are friendly, warm-hearted, and radiate as much positive vibes as the bright illustrations, making this a wholesome read.

Then, there's the weaving in of other cultures to add the last zest. Amy's heritage slides in effortlessly and naturally. The author also makes sure to include the Mandarin when the boy and his sister speak. This is not translated right away, keeping the reader as much in the dark as Amy is. But it is translated at the end during the last notes. There's also a section where Amy tries to pronounce several words, which the reader can attempt as well.

It's a simple and cute read, which works well as a read-aloud or in a more one-to-one situation, too.

And here they are...

Kat Zhang loves traveling to places both real and fictional—the former have better souvenirs, but the latter allow for dragons, so it’s a tough choice. A writer of books for teens and children, she spends her free time scribbling poetry, taking photographs, and climbing atop things she shouldn’t. You can learn more about her at KatZhang.com. 

Charlene Chua draws many things, from baos to dragons, and everything in-between. When they are not drawing, they enjoy cooking, reading, and playing with their cats. Charlene grew up in Singapore, and now lives in Canada. Her favorite baos are still char siu baos, and her favorite dumplings are air-fryer wontons!


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