“Peppered with wry commentary on the often baffling experience of adapting to a new country and a new language, Beijing-born Namioka’s fresh and funny novel serves up a slice of modern, multicultural American life.” —Publisher’s Weekly
Everyone in the Yang family is a talented musician except for nine-year-old Yingtao, the youngest Yang. Even after years of violin lessons from his father, Yingtao cannot make beautiful music.
Now that his family has moved from China to Seattle, Yingtao wants to learn English and make new friends at school. Still, he must make time to practice his violin for an important family recital to help his father get more students. Yingtao is afraid his screeching violin will ruin the recital. But he’s even more afraid to tell his family that he has found something he likes better than music.
Together he and his new friend Matthew think of a sure way to save the recital. They are certain nothing will go wrong.
Reviews & Accolades
“Newly transplanted to Seattle from his native China, nine-year-old Yingtao is a tone-deaf thorn among musical roses…Peppered with wry commentary on the often baffling experience of adapting to a new country and a new language, Beijing-born Namioka’s fresh and funny novel serves up a slice of modern, multicultural American life. Her comic timing and deadpan delivery are reminiscent of Betsy Byars, and her book will leave readers begging for more.” —Publisher’s Weekly
“…Namioka uses [Yingtao and Matthew's] growing friendship to explore cultural differences and the problems of adjustment to a new society with a light but sure touch. Warm, humorous black-and-white sketches illuminate each character with casual, but astute, perception…this multicultural music and sports story will have a broad appeal for young readers.” —Margaret A. Chang, School Library Journal
“…Along with the theme of overcoming parents’ unrealistic expectations, Namioka depicts in some detail the problems of adjusting to a new country and countering stereotypical thinking…De Kiefte’s frequent impressionistic drawings are a plus.” —Kirkus Reviews
Immigration, sibling relationships, multicultural friendship, familial expectations
Yang the Youngest and His Terrible Ear is one of Lensey Namioka’s most autobiographical stories that she has written. Her character Yingtao is based upon herself; she moved to the United States from China as a young girl and was also the least talented musician in her musical family. Beyond her own personal experiences, she also used the experiences of her siblings and her father, who like Yingtao’s father, was a talented musician, as inspiration for this title.
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