Danny Chung Does Not Do Maths
3 Aug. 2021
Paperback / softback
Eleven-year-old Danny Chung loves drawing more than anything--certainly more than maths, which, according to his dad and everyone else, is what he is 'supposed' to be good at. He also loves having his own room where he can draw in peace, so his life is turned upside down when a surprise that he's been promised turns out to be his little, wrinkly, ex-maths-champion grandmother from China. What's worse, Nai Nai has to share his room, AND she takes the top bunk!
Nai Nai can't speak a word of English, which doesn't make things easy for Danny when he is charged with looking after her during his school holidays. Babysitting Nai Nai is NOT what he wants to be doing!
Before long though it becomes clear to Danny that there is more to Nai Nai than meets the eye, and that they have more in common that he thought possible ...
InformationBook Type: Junior Chapter
Age Group: 10 to 14 years
Traffic Lights: Amber
Class Novel: Yes
Good Reads Rating: 5/5
Literary Rating: 5/5
An endearing, enjoyable, and very relatable tale about a British-Chinese family's life in England. The story focuses around 11-year-old Danny, who spends his time drawing--to the detriment of his other school subjects. His only friend is Ravi, another bookish character, but he longs to be part of the "cool kid' crowd.
Danny's life is upended when his elderly grandmother arrives from China to live with them. He even has to share his room with her. They find it difficult to communicate: she speaks no English and his Chinese is poor. Initially, he's furious; he tries to respect his parents' wishes, but it isn't easy. When his Nai Nai turns up at school, his embarrassment is complete.
Gradually, he warms to her and appreciates the sacrifices she's made to start a new life at her age. Being an ex-maths champion, she helps Danny with an important school project and shows him that maths is all around him. When they discover Bingo, Nai Nai is an absolute wiz.
Throughout the book, the author pokes fun at stereotypes: a Tiger Mum, Danny's folks' Chinese take-away, Danny struggling with Maths. The overall message is not to judge books by their covers, make snap judgements, or allow prejudice to cloud your perception of others; instead, to treat everyone with respect and care. A highly enjoyable read which translates into Australian culture.
intergenerational families, Chinese culture, multiculturalism, school, Maths, friendship, family bonds, bullying, love, belief
1. Language: "God" (p. 20, 164, 164, 186, 252, 255). 2. Wooden altar to kitchen god (p. 36). 3. Mr. Potempa and his husband David live above their store, just like Danny's family do. Danny tells Mr Potemba that his grandmother needs some fruit that will help her "do number twos". He's embarrassed by the way she acts in the store.
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