cover image Born Naughty: My Childhood in China

Born Naughty: My Childhood in China

Jin Wang with Tony Johnston, illus. by Anisi Baigude. Random House/Schwartz, $16.99 (112p) ISBN 978-0-5935-6361-8

With Johnston (Ten Owies), debut author Wang recounts cheerful memories from her childhood in this captivating chapter book memoir. In 1982, mischievous eight-year-old Wang lives without electricity or running water in Nan Ba Zi, a rural Chinese village in Inner Mongolia that was “so little it was not even on a map.” Living near a desert in “a mud hut so tiny we barely fit inside,” Wang “felt the sting of its sand in the time of wind” and, because water was scarce, she “took baths once, maybe twice a year.” Yet Wang finds joy in the everyday and even during routine outings with her parents, as when her father’s excursion to a nearby town on a water trip yields new and exciting experiences. Though her adventures cause her mother anxiety—as when Wang justifies a worrisome tree-climbing endeavor by saying, “They held out their arms to me and said, ‘Climb.’ How could I not do what the trees asked?”—things always end on an uplifting note for the endearing, pigtailed youth. Earthy, textured b&w pencil spot illustrations by Baigude (Odi’s Library Day) depict Wang’s antics. All characters cue as Chinese. Creators’ notes conclude. Ages 7–10. (May)