Children's Fiction




Levine, Ellen. (1989). I Hate English!. Hong Kong: Scholastic Inc.

This text is about a young girl Mei Mei (nine or ten years old) who finds it hard to adjust to speaking English when her family moves to New York from Hong Kong.  She finds English a lonely language as each letter stands on its own  and has  its own sound, unlike Chinese characters. She understands her teacher in class, but she never speaks English. Mei Mei loves to go to the Chinatown Learning Centre where she does everything in Chinese. She writes to her friends in Chinese, but she has to write the address in English. One day, an American teacher, Nancy, comes to the Centre to help Mei Mei with her English. Mei Mei loves the story that Nancy reads to her; she forgets that she does not like to listen to English but  feels sad when she comes across words that she does not know in Chinese. The next day, Nancy takes Mei Mei out for a walk.  She does all the talking, telling Mei Mei everything about herself in English. Mei Mei feels invisible as she cannot respond, and finally shouts in English, I want to talk! She then begins to talk nonstop in English about festivals, streets and friends in Hong Kong. From then on, Mei Mei talks in both languages whenever she wants.  (FC)

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