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5.0 out of 5 starsMy newest friends - Azalea and Billy !!!
Reviewed in the United States on September 9, 2016
Just finished reading "Making Friends with Billy Wong". My opinion ... Outstanding! Five out of five stars! Here's why ... (1) Augusta Scattergood got many details of the 50's just right, even down to the then used term "funny books", (2) her depiction of Chinese life in grocery stores was accurately expressed through Billy's prose (a very nice change of pace writing-wise!), (3) I wouldn't mind reading even more about the same summer from each boys' individual perspective (two very interesting characters!), (4) I really like that the author used Arkansas as the setting, instead of Mississippi. Mississippi Chinese were and still are a very close-knit group, from having attended Chinese-only schools together, and are well-documented. But the many more scattered and more-isolated Chinese kids in Arkansas (like me) had to attend white schools alone and navigate a difficult daily life between and within both black and white societies (as the author so perfectly describes through Billy Wong’s own writings), (5) Bottom line: this is a very well-told and unique story about the bonds of friendship grown through shared experiences, both good and bad. I truly enjoyed reading this story of Azalea's summer and I expect others will too. Thank you, Augusta Scattergood, for writing it. Outstanding! - Jeu Foon (Forrest City, Arkansas 1949 – 1967)
5.0 out of 5 starsAzalea Morgan's parents have never said anything good about their small Arkansas hometown or Azalea's grandmother who ...
Reviewed in the United States on September 29, 2016
Augusta Scattergood has done it again! She creates characters we wish were our friends and immerses us in a story touched by social awareness. This time, her southern voice carries us into 1950s Arkansas where a Chinese population settled and struggled to gain respect.
Azalea Morgan's parents have never said anything good about their small Arkansas hometown or Azalea's grandmother who lives there. So when Azalea is dropped off at that very same grandmother's to help while her injured foot heals, she figures her summer is ruined. She's eager to get back to her one true friend in Texas and away from her prickly grandmother. But every day her heart opens a little wider as she learns her grandmother's side of the family story and discovers an unlikely friendship with a boy named Billy Wong.
Reviewed in the United States on September 22, 2016
Bought this for my granddaughter but read it first. Glad I did. I grew up in the south during the same period as the author of this book, but I had absolutely no exposure to Chinese during my youth. There were none in my little town. So reading this was eye-opening. The characters were well-drawn and believable, even the unpleasant ones. How times have changed. My granddaughter has several Chinese students in her 5th grade class. Azalea, from the 1950's, can teach those of us in 2016 how to look past ethnicity. Thank you Ms. Scattergood.,
5.0 out of 5 starsMAKING FRIENDS WITH BILLY WONG is just terrific—a wonderful, heartwarming
Reviewed in the United States on October 15, 2016
MAKING FRIENDS WITH BILLY WONG is just terrific—a wonderful, heartwarming, and endearing story of the early 1950s in the deep south. A spot-on portrayal of Azalea as well as her smart, mature, motivated Chinese-American friend Billy Wong and the difficult “redneck" bad-boy Willis, for whom I felt great sympathy, in spite of his unrelenting prejudice against Billy. And Grandma Clark with her injured foot and frustration at not being able to take care of herself, which is the reason Azalea is with living with her during the summer of 1952. Really enjoyed every single page and highly recommend the book to middle school readers.
5.0 out of 5 starsMaking Friends with Billy Wong.....
Reviewed in the United States on November 16, 2016
Having been raised in the north, I've learned a lot about the south during the 50s and 60s thanks to Augusta Scattergood. Making Friends with Billy Wong continues the journey. It was the perfect book to give my southern family young reader.