Study Guide

In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson Family

By Bette Bao Lord

Family

Family is one of the few constants in Shirley's life in In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson. In China, family surrounds her all the time—she lives in a giant complex with her parents, grandparents, cousins, and lots of relatives. Her cousins are her friends and her grandmother rules the roost. In America, however, for the first time, Shirley has opportunities outside her household. She makes friends with kids she isn't related to, and she is exposed to all sorts of new things that aren't within the safe confines of la casa.

Questions About Family

  1. Why does Shirley live with all of her family in China? What does her transition from a lot of family in China to a little family in Brooklyn represent?
  2. Why do you think Shirley is so close to her parents? What makes her so excited for her new sibling?
  3. By the end of the book, do you think Shirley has found a new, additional family? Why or why not?
  4. Do you think Shirley loses her family for good when she moves to America? Why or why not?

Chew on This

Family is the one constant in Shirley's move from China to America.

Family doesn't always just mean blood relatives, but friends and neighbors, too.

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