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Parents' Guide to

The Secret Battle of Evan Pao

By JK Sooja, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Chinese American family faces racism in powerful novel.

The Secret Battle of Evan Pao Book: Cover Image

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
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This positive and powerful middle grade novel about a Chinese American family facing racism in their new town is a fast read, quickly paced with a palpable sense of tension and danger. Coming from diverse California, Virginia is a culture shock for Evan's family, and the situation demands that they be incredibly careful not to anger their neighbors, school teachers, and police. There's a strong feeling of danger throughout The Secret Battle of Evan Pao, but the central piece of violence produces no tragic consequences.

Given the genre and target audience, it's understandable that the primary acts of racism that Evan's family face do not lead to worse tragedy. But it's hard not to imagine much worse befalling Evan and his family if this novel wasn't for middle grade readers. Still, it's a strong and important book that offers new ways of handling, thinking about, and reacting to racism.

Book Details

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