The Key Collection by Andrea Cheng

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An intergenerational and cross-cultural story of love and friendship.

The lines around Ni Ni’s eyes were deeper than before. Her hair was thin and grey. I wanted to tell her that she didn’t have to move. She didn’t have to move at all. Nobody would make her. We could explain to Auntie Helen that she was not ready. Not yet. Not for a long while.

Xiao Jimmy’s Grandma Ni Ni is his favorite person in all the world. Ni Ni cooks delicious jiao zi, teaches Jimmy Chinese characters, and always has wonderful stories and fascinating objects—like the key collection—to share with him. So when Jimmy learns that Ni Ni must move far away to California, he feels he’s losing his best friend. In time, however, Jimmy discovers there are ways to bridge distance, and to make new friends in the process.

This warm and reassuring novel explores a special relationship that crosses cultures and generations, and holds strong when tested.

About Andrea Cheng

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Andrea Cheng is the author of the picture book Grandfather Counts, and the middle-grade novel Marika. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her family.Yangsook Choi is the illustrator of Rice Is Life and Nim and the War Effort, as well as New Cat. Born and raised in Korea, she now lives in New York City.
Published May 1, 2003 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR). 112 pages
Genres: Travel, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Key Collection

Kirkus Reviews

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Ni Ni keeps a jar of old keys for Jimmy to play with, and he enjoys sorting them into “families” peopled with the relatives in China Ni Ni tells him about.

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Publishers Weekly

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The frail, elderly woman and her grandson spend treasured time together practicing how to write Chinese characters, making jiao zi (dumplings), discussing Ni Ni's childhood in China and playing with the collection of keys she has amassed through the years, which Jimmy likes to pretend are indivi...

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