Study Guide

In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson Chapter 3

By Bette Bao Lord

Chapter 3

March: China's Little Ambassador

  • Shirley kicks off her move to America by starting school at the local P.S. (public school) 8. It's pretty awkward for her since she can't understand English.
  • Based on her age (she's ten), she'll enter fifth grade, even though she only did three years of school in China. Her mom says she has to put on a happy face because she's representing all of China, though. So, you know, no pressure.
  • It's hard to read facial expressions for Shirley, who doesn't understand what winking is, and she keeps blinking over and over again.
  • In her new classroom, Shirley meets her classmates, all of whom look different from one another. Although she can't understand her new teacher, Mrs. Rappaport, Shirley likes her.
  • Not sure what to do come lunchtime, she follows everyone to a local deli, where she gets good grub and, even though she's not sure what's going on, loves being part of the group.
  • After lunch, Shirley's afraid that her trip out will be frowned upon and she will shame China.
  • As it turns out, everything is fine—except her teacher gives her mom a note about Shirley's constant winking.

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