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Modern Age

New From Here
Author: Yang, Kelly
Buy at Amazon |

Time Period: Modern Age
Time Frame: 2019-2020
Geographic Area: North America, Asia
Country: United States, Hong Kong ,
Topics: Asian Americans, COVID-19 Pandemic
Genre: Fiction
Reading Age: Middle Grade, Upper Middle Grade
Format: Chapter Book
Published: 2022

American History > Modern Age

This “timely and compelling” (Kirkus Reviews) middle-grade novel about courage, hope, and resilience follows an Asian American boy fighting to keep his family together and stand up to racism during the initial outbreak of the coronavirus.

When the coronavirus hits Hong Kong, ten-year-old Knox Wei-Evans’s mom makes the last-minute decision to move him and his siblings back to California, where they think they will be safe. Suddenly, Knox has two days to prepare for an international move—and for leaving his dad, who has to stay for work.

At his new school in California, Knox struggles with being the new kid. His classmates think that because he’s from Asia, he must have brought over the virus. At home, Mom just got fired and is panicking over the loss of health insurance, and Dad doesn’t even know when he’ll see them again, since the flights have been cancelled. And everyone struggles with Knox’s blurting-things-out problem.

As racism skyrockets during COVID-19, Knox tries to stand up to hate, while finding his place in his new country. Can you belong if you’re feared; can you protect if you’re new? And how do you keep a family together when you’re oceans apart? Sometimes when the world is spinning out of control, the best way to get through it is to embrace our own lovable uniqueness.

Emily's Review

This was my first time reading Kelly Yang and I now want to read everything she's ever written. I loved this story. The characters were all so very vivid. This is a story about a boy named Knox trying to keep his family together during a difficult time. Set at the very beginning of the pandemic, we follow Knox and his family who live in Hong Kong. they are a biracial family, and his mother is Chinese, they speak Mandarin Chinese as well as English. When the pandemic begins, there is a lot of anti-Chinese sentiment in Hong Kong, so they make the decision to move to San Francisco in the US. But because of his job, their father has to stay behind.

This story is filled with heart. The sibling relationships are great, and their struggles all felt very realistic and relatable. I loved Knox as the narrator. He learns over the course of the story that he has ADHD and discovers that he has support for his differences. He's a sweet boy who means well but struggles with impulsiveness which often gets him into trouble. He and his siblings come up with a multitude of ways to work together to earn money so they can purchase a plane ticket to get their father home, as well as find him a job so he can stay.

This story also deals with racism and fear, which go hand-in-hand. As the Covid-19 pandemic begins, people start to view Chinese people with suspicion and we see the characters in the story experience this, both in Hong Kong and in the US. One of Knox's new friends is a Chinese American whose family owns a Chinese restaurant, and we see that they are struggling as people fear eating Chinese food.

I also love that Kelly Yang wrote this story based on her own family's experience - they too had to uproot their lives in Hong Kong to come to the US at the beginning of the pandemic. This story was sweet, heartfelt, and laugh-out-loud funny. I recommend it to kids ages 8+.

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  • New From Here (by: Yang, Kelly, United States, Hong Kong, Asian Americans, COVID-19 Pandemic, Plagues, MG, UMG)
  • Rez Dogs (by: Bruchac, Joseph, United States, Indigenous Americans, Wabanaki Nation, COVID-19 Pandemic, Plagues, MG, UMG)