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Featured books by Janet Wong

Whether Janet Wong is writing a picture book or a short novel or putting together a collection of poems, her sense of language and way with words is a joy to read. Children will see themselves in her work as they respond to the honesty and warmth of her work.

Alex and the Wednesday Chess Club

By: Janet Wong
Illustrated by: Stacey Schuett
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

When a very young Alex loses a chess game to "moldy old" Uncle Hooya, he stops playing. But when Alex is injured playing football in the third grade, he joins the chess club where he faces Uncle Hooya's nephew — and his own fears. Alex's story is told in free verse to capture both his worry and joy.

Apple Pie 4th of July

By: Janet Wong
Illustrated by: Margaret Chodos-Irvine
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

"No one wants to eat Chinese food on the Fourth of July," says a young girl to her parents who insist on keeping their Chinese restaurant open on Independence Day. An honest portrayal of the tug between traditions old and new, as well as what it really means to be American.

Apple Pie Fourth of July

By: Janet Wong
Illustrated by: Margaret Chodos-Irvine
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The young Chinese-American narrator fears that no one will want Chinese food on an all-American holiday. Word wall possibilities include food and food groups, emotions, the stuff of the 4th of July (e.g., fireworks, parades, flags, etc.).

Good Luck Gold and Other Poems

By: Janet Wong
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Easy-to-understand poems explore what it's like to grow up Asian in America. Readers will see themselves in the everyday activities of the poet who dispels typical notions of how Asians behave and how they excel. Perhaps, too, readers will realize the hurt that words can cause in several sophisticated and quite personal poems.

Knock on Wood: Poems about Superstitions

By: Janet Wong
Illustrated by: Julie Paschkis
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Original poems combine with stunning illustrations reminiscent of folk art, to explore superstitions and superstitious beliefs from black cats to knocking on wood — and lots more. An author's note with a bit of information about superstitions concludes this engaging book.

Night Garden: Poems from the World of Dreams

By: Janet Wong
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

In this collection, Wong records many of her own dreams as free verse poems. She also finds inspiration in her friends and family — even her dog!

The Dumpster Diver

By: Janet Wong
Illustrated by: David Roberts
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Why collect other people's junk? What is the singularly most important rule when dumpster diving? Learn these and other secrets of rifling through rubbish with Steve (an adult neighbor) and his young team of helpers in this lively, humorous, ecologically friendly, and slightly gross look at a trashy topic.

The Trip Back Home

By: Janet Wong
Illustrated by: Bo Jia
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Based on the author's experience, a child visits the village in Korea where her mother lived before immigrating to America. The simplicity of the text provides rich details of everyday life in the small Korean village, enhanced by realistic illustrations.

This Next New Year

By: Janet Wong
Illustrated by: Yangsook Choi
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Janet Wong shares a young boy's hopes and dreams for the New Year — he has had so much bad luck in the past year, but he is certain that this year will be much luckier! A heartwarming and honest portrayal of what the chance to start over means for all of us. An author's note provides insight into her background and this festive occasion.

Twist: Yoga Poems

By: Janet Wong
Illustrated by: Julie Paschkis
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Simple, evocative poetry suggest the meanings which inspire various yoga stances, movements, and more. The short poems coupled with handsome illustrations encourage imagination as together they show how a movement or pose can suggest something quite different.

You Have to Write

By: Janet Wong
Illustrated by: Teresa Flavin
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

It's what every child who hates to write dreads most: the assignment that says they MUST do so. But it's not so bad when young people use their own experiences. A light, affirming text in free verse and interspersed with full-color illustrations may motivate even a reticent writer.

Interested in wonderful interviews with tween and teen authors? Hop on over to our sister site, AdLit.org, and browse the library.

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"Wear the old coat and buy the new book." — Austin Phelps