Study Guide

In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson Chapter 2

By Bette Bao Lord

Chapter 2

February: A Journey of Ten Thousand Miles

  • Shirley and her mom set sail for San Francisco in California. The sea journey? Not so fun. And then comes a train ride across the country, heading east to New York City.
  • Her dad comes to greet them at the train station, and Shirley is super psyched to see him.
  • She's excited for her new home, too, though she is flabbergasted at the really tall buildings (think skyscrapers) and the absence of familiar things like rickshaws and farmers' stalls.
  • Shirley's new home in Brooklyn is a shock for her. It's tiny and her bed is makeshift.
  • Her mama and she have to cook their own food (which is a bit of a shocker) and get used to new things like an icebox (an old kind of refrigerator), some crazy shops called grocery stores, and a clunky washing machine.
  • All the buildings with apartments look alike to Shirley, too.
  • However, eager to impress her dad and his friends, Shirley offers to go out and buy him some cigarettes from the store. Easy, right? After all, he showed her where to go just hours earlier.
  • Shirley memorizes the directions, but after she picks up the cigarettes, she gets lost trying to find her new home amongst the buildings that all look the same.
  • She feels really embarrassed and foolish, but thankfully, her dad rescues her.

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