My Beijing Four stories of everyday wonder

Nie Jun, 1975-

Book - 2018

"Four short stories set in a hutong, or residential alleyway, of Beijing, China. Yu'er, her grandfather, and their eccentric neighbors experience the magic of everyday life."--

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Location Call Number   Status
Children's Room jGRAPHIC NOVEL/Jun Checked In
Children's Room jGRAPHIC NOVEL/Jun Checked In
Graphic novels
Minneapolis : Graphic Universe [2018]
First American edition
Physical Description
128 pages : color illustrations ; 26 cm
Main Author
Nie Jun, 1975- (author)
Other Authors
Edward Gauvin (translator)
  • Yu'er's dream
  • Bug paradise
  • The letter
  • Kids at heart.
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* When young Yu'er laments, "People think I'm different," her grandfather's immediate response, "Oh, who cares what they think!" sets her free to be just that and more. She's different because she's physically challenged, but Grampa ensures her mobility via push cart, wooden chair on wheels, or even his back. Buoyed by Grampa's playfully devoted support, Yu'er's adventures are magically empowering. Four such endeavors are included here: swimming without water in hopeful preparation for the Special Olympics in "Yu'er's Dream," visiting "Bug Paradise" with a protective new friend, sending "The Letter" from the present to the past, and nurturing artistic expression with the neighborhood grouch in "Kids at Heart." Yu'er and Grampa make ideal guides to their Beijing hutong, a traditional neighborhood of courtyard houses and alleyways. Gauvin's buoyantly translated speech bubbles exude youthful excitement and energy, and the occasional asterisks lead to explanations of, for instance, how Yu'er's name translates to fish girl and the literary significance of the Ming Dynasty classic, Journey to the West. Presented in sumptuous full color, Jun's exquisite graphics—from perfect realism (a cancelled stamp) to comical specificity (Grampa's exaggerated backside) to the "natural simplicity" of Yu'er's own drawings—offer nonstop merriment and whimsical delight. Grades 2-5. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

This big-hearted debut is set in a traditional Beijing neighborhood of one-story dwellings whose tiled roofs and arched bridges offer an atmospheric backdrop for four tales. The author doesn't explain why Yu'er walks with a crutch, or where her parents have gone. But the unshakable love that she and Grandpa share form the solid ground of these stories, which, in the manner of a Miyazaki film, slip from reality into a dreamy otherworld and back. In the first, Grandpa comes up with a novel way for Yu'er to "swim" in their courtyard. In the second, a boy defends Yu'er from bullies and introduces her to the glories of insect song. The third memorializes Yu'er's late Gramma with a lovely twist that ventures into science fiction, and the fourth follows Grandpa and Yu'er as they melt the heart of a grumpy artist nicknamed Pumpkin. "Is this a dream?" Pumpkin asks. "Yep!" Grandpa replies. "And we all need dreams, don't we?" Delicate pen-and-ink drawings glow with sunny colors in this graphic novel, and the sequential storytelling shines. Gauvin's translation, from the French edition, is a translation in turn from the Chinese. Ages 7–11. (Sept.) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly Annex.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 2–4—Four slice-of-life stories about a young girl and her grandfather in a hutong neighborhood of Beijing make up this quiet graphic novel. In the first, Yu'er, who has limited use of one of her legs, dreams of swimming in the Special Olympics, but none of the pools will let her in to train, so her grandfather devises a way to swim without water. The middle two tales are steeped in magical realism. In one, Yu'er meets a boy who protects her from bullies and takes her to a one-of-a-kind concert. In the other, hearing about her grandparents' courtship leads Yu'er to write a magical letter. In the final entry, Yu'er studies painting with a grumpy neighbor who laments his inability to act on his dreams when he was younger. Delicate full-color watercolors add to the gentle, dreamy atmosphere of the neighborhood as Yu'er, her friends, and readers discover the simple magic and wonder in everyday life. The translation occasionally hits an odd note but does not distract from the warm tone. VERDICT Recommended for most graphic novel collections.—Jennifer Rothschild, Arlington County Public Libraries, VA Copyright 2018 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A 2019 Batchelder Honor BookYu'er and her grandpa live in a small neighborhood in Beijing—and it's full of big personalities. There's a story around every corner, and each day has a hint of magic.In one tale, Yu'er wants to swim in the Special Olympics, a sports competition for people with disabilities. But she and her grandpa don't have a pool! Their trick to help Yu'er practice wows the whole neighborhood. In another story, a friend takes Yu'er to a wild place full of musical insects. Later, Yu'er hears a special story about her grandparents. And in the final story, Yu'er and her grandpa show a cranky painter the sweet side of life.