The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball

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.”
VOYA Magazine

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.

Author: Dori Jones Yang

Publication Date: August 15, 2017

Description

2017 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards: Gold Award, Pre-Teen Fiction – Historical/Cultural
2017 USA Best Book Awards Winner, Children’s Fiction

“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.”
VOYA Magazine

“Through the eyes of the ever curious ‘Leon’ (Woo Ka-Leong), America is a play of both dazzling light and layered shadows. The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball turns our assumptions of America, and the Chinese impact on our history, upside down. A riveting and revealing story for the ages.”
―Conrad Wesselhoeft, author of Dirt Bikes, Drones, and Other Ways to Fly

“A smart, authentic, and engaging look at the Chinese experience in America through the eyes of an adventurous and loyal boy who journeys into the sometimes welcoming, often hostile environment that was nineteenth-century America. You’ll be drawn in by the absorbing history (which is little-known but true) but stay for the characters―and the story that brings them to life.”
―David Patneaude, author of Thin Wood Walls

“Set against the backdrop of the true story of 120 Chinese students sent to New England by their government to study, Dori follows the lives of Woo Ka-Leong (Leon) and his brother Woo Ka-Sun (Carson), their time with the Swann family of Suffield, Connecticut, and their conquest of baseball in a thoroughly satisfying book that will teach young readers about the Chinese, and to see their own culture through foreign eyes.”
―Scott D. Seligman, author of Tong Wars and The First Chinese American

“My great grandfather, Wen Bingzhong, was one of the ‘First 100’ and I often wondered about his experiences in America. This was a fascinating period in modern Chinese history, and Dori Jones Yang has written a story which describes how this group of young Chinese males might have felt.”
―Martin Tang, retired chairman, Asia, Spencer Stuart & Associates

“Although the book takes place in 1876, the conflicts and issues raised are completely modern and relevant today as communities wrestle with the integration of traditional values and changes in technology, job requirements, and evolving social mores. As Dori Jones Yang brings these characters to life, they spark lots of thought-provoking questions – fantastic for school or home.”
―Nancy Kennan, mother of a middle schooler, avid reader of historical fiction, and investment banker in New York City

“In this powerful novel, Dori Jones Yang explores cultural differences and ways of responding to them. Her deep insights and the compelling plot make this a book students will enjoy and then recall as they face cross-cultural experiences of their own.”
―Mary Hammond Bernson, Director, East Asia Resource Center, University of Washington

About the Author

Dori Jones Yang is a Seattle-area writer with extensive experience making personal connections across boundaries of culture and time. Raised in Ohio, she lived and worked in Singapore and Hong Kong and covered the opening of China as a journalist for Business Week. Married to a Chinese man, she has traveled widely throughout Asia. Her previous books include a young-adult historical novel set in China at the time of Marco Polo and a middle-grade novel about a girl from China who begins fifth grade in Seattle only to discover she has lost her voice. After studying Chinese for many years, Dori knows what it feels like to struggle to express your thoughts in an unfamiliar language. Learn more at www.booksbydori.com.

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