These were a couple of quick trips and easy reads.
The Year of the Dog, by Grace Lin, is a great book for children, or as a family read aloud. It is about a young American girl of Chinese descent. It is a good dose of perspective for those of us who have been born and raised as a white American for generations. This little girl has identity issues that we cannot even imagine. The Year of the Dog is not in any way depressing or heavy – quite the contrary. It’s fun and light-hearted, yet makes a wonderful point. It touches on Chinese traditions, as well as the challenge of maintaining one’s ethnic identity within the Great Melting Pot.
Moving to Africa with Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, we clearly see that people of all cultures, races and eras have their lives fall apart from time to time. Things Fall Apart is set in 18th century Africa. The people have a well established culture, government and community dynamic. They struggle with supporting their families, gender identities, parental responsibilities and politics. Things go along just fine until the White Man shows up, pressing a new God on the natives.
These are both insightful stories that inspire one to appreciate the life they have been given.