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Publication Day! - accolades

The Forbidden Temptation is now available in bookstores, libraries, and online!  Check your local bookstore for availability. Pub Day Dori PSE

On publication day, August 15, I went to Brick & Mortar Books. It's great to see my book on sale. 

Buzzfeed listed The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball as #1 on its list of "5 Books to Gift Your Child's Teacher This New School Year. 

And Culturalist also chose it for its list of Reads to Beat the Back-to-School Blues.  It reaches 500-600,000 readers a month.

Amazon awarded it a #1 New Release banner for "Children's Asian and Asian American Books" and "Children's Baseball Books." 

Lots of excitement - and more in the works. 

First review!

Delighted to see this excellent review of The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball - in VOYA magazine, the leading journal for young adult librarians. It reaches over 7500 major library systems and school districts nationwide. The word is getting out!

4Q 4P M J

Yang, Dori Jones. The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball. SparkPress, 2017. 256p. $12.95 Trade pb. 978-1-943006-32-8.

In the 1870s, the emperor of China sent 120 boys to the U.S. in hopes of developing a cadre of future leaders who would immerse themselves in their dynamic host country and then return, bringing the energy and know-how of American industrial technology back to their highly traditional homeland. Through a pair of fictional brothers, the author provides insight into this little-known historical event. Twelve-year-old Woo Ka-Leong (his name is Americanized as Leon) and fifteen-year-old Woo Ka-Sun (Carson) are both sent to live with a middle-class, New England family. The story is told from the viewpoint of the optimistic and adaptable younger brother, Leon, who soon becomes proficient in English and comfortable with American culture and cuisine. He also becomes an enthusiastic baseball player and a fan of steam engines and railroads. Carson, however, clings single-mindedly to his mastery of classical Chinese poetry and calligraphy while scorning all things American. On his rare ventures into wider American society, notably on a group visit to the Centennial Exhibition of 1876 in Philadelphia, the older brother's erratic behavior causes widespread dismay. The two boys represent opposite poles of the range of results likely to arise from cross-cultural experiences.

This well-written historical novel is filled with intriguing details about Chinese and American customs and lifestyles of the era. Through Leon's expectations and his confrontations with alien customs, the reader learns about both pre-modern Chinese and Victorian-era American societies and technologies. The novel features several appendices, including a short bibliography, questions for discussion, and trivia for readers who will want to learn more. The boys’ experiences are both timely and timeless in Yang’s deft hands.—Walter Hogan.

 

Cool Things to Know about The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball

Although The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball will not be published until August 15, I'm beginning to get some questions.

Recently, a friend asked "Isn't it a nonfiction book about baseball?" The answer is no! This is a historical novel, aimed at readers aged 10 to 14, about two Chinese boys who were sent to study in America in the 1870s. They were warned not to become "too American," but one quickly learned to love playing baseball. 

Here are other questions I've heard - from people who have read the book - with the answers.

Why did China send 120 boys to America in the 1870s?   China Boys full group JPG for web

In the 1800s, China’s leaders thought China was the most important and powerful country in the world, so they were shocked when they lost several wars to European armies. China had not paid attention to Europe, so they didn’t realize that Europeans and Americans had developed modern naval ships, cannons, and rifles. In 1860, China lost the Second Opium War to Britain and was forced to give up territory in Hong Kong. That major humiliation made the emperor listen to a man named Yung Wing who recommended China send boys to America to learn English, study modern technology, and return home to modernize and protect China.

Why did those Chinese boys have to wear their hair in a braid?

During the Qing Dynasty (1644 to 1911), all Chinese men and boys had to wear their hair in a single braid and to shave their foreheads. Today, this hairstyle looks strange, but it was the traditional style of the Manchus, an ethnic minority that ruled all of China in those years. A lot of Chinese resented these “foreign” emperors, but the Manchus enforced the rule. If a Chinese man cut off his braid, he was considered disloyal and accused of treason. The punishment was death. The Chinese boys sent by the emperor to study in America were expected to return to China, so they were required to show their loyalty, too.

Why were they so young?

Yung Wing, who came up with the idea of sending more than 100 boys to study in America, began learning English at a young age at a school in Macau. He went to America for high school and went to college at Yale. He learned from experience that the younger you are, the easier it is to learn a foreign language. If you start studying a foreign language at the age of eleven, you can learn to be totally fluent, speaking it without an accent. However, Yung Wing almost forgot how to speak and read Chinese during his years in America, so he required that the boys continue to study Chinese while they lived in the United States.

The Orientals JPEG for webDid they really play baseball?

Yes! Here is a picture of some of the real Chinese scholars in 1878, posing with baseball bats. These boys formed a team called “The Orientals” in Hartford. Baseball was relatively new in those days, and it was becoming wildly popular in towns and colleges, starting in the New York/New England area. In those days, “Oriental” was a commonly accepted term for “Asian.” 

Come celebrate with the author and support your local bookstore!

For me as a writer, the sweetest joy is when I celebrate a new book with friends. Plus, I love supporting local independent bookstores.

So if you are in the Seattle area, please join me at one of my book launch parties: 

Saturday, August 26, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., at Brick & Mortar Books
7430 164th Avenue NE, Redmond Town Center 

(eager to support this brand-new independent bookstore)

or

Sunday, September 10, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., at Island Books

3014 78th Avenue SE, Mercer Island

(a favorite local indie bookstore for years)

I’ll be talking about the book and showing some slides, and then we’ll celebrate with food, drinks, and a signing.  R.S.V.P.

 The book, The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball, is a novel for readers aged 10 to 14. The story of two fictional Chinese boys who were sent to the United States by their government in 1875, it is based on a real historical event and deals with cross-cultural adaptation and how Americans respond to foreigners in our midst.  It was inspired by—and dedicated to—my friend Peter Tonglao, whose grandfather was one of the real 120 boys sent to America in the 1870s. I think it’s important that American kids know about this and try to imagine what it feels like to be an outsider in our country. 

More independent local bookstores I love:

Third Place Books       Elliott Bay Books        Secret Garden Books     Book Tree Kirkland     Wing Luke Museum Shop

     or Find a local indie bookstore near you

My dad was an independent bookseller in Ohio. Hope you'll shop at your local bookstore and help keep independent bookstores healthy!

Proud to Announce The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball

Excitement is building for The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball. Publication is set for August 15, 2017 by SparkPress. That's the date the book is available for purchase.

Early readers have given it two-thumbs up, and I've already posted lots of great recommendations from early readers from adults as well as kids. 

It's available for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Review copies are going out soon.  Dori is now planning school visits for the fall, readings at bookstores, and a blog tour.  

Let me know if you want to join the celebration!

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