2017 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards: Gold Award, Pre-Teen Fiction – Historical/Cultural
“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.”
Despite his impulsive and curious nature, twelve-year-old Leon is determined to follow the Emperor’s rules―to live with an American family, study hard, and return home to modernize China. But he also must keep the braid that shows his loyalty―and resist such forbidden American temptations as baseball. As Leon overcomes teasing and makes friends, his elder brother becomes increasingly alienated and disturbed. Eventually, Leon faces a tough decision, torn between his loyalty to his birth country―and his growing love for his new home.
The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball is a lively, poignant, and nuanced novel based on a little-known episode from history, when 120 boys were sent to New England by the Emperor of China in the 1870s. This story dramatizes both the rigid expectations and the wrenching alienation felt by many foreign children in America today―and richly captures that tension between love and hate that is culture shock.
Publication Date: August 15, 2017