Reading List: This is Just a Test

A new middle-grade novel by Wendy Wan-Long Shang and Madelyn Rosenberg explores growing up Chinese and Jewish in the Nuclear Age.

Local authors Wendy Wan-Long Shang and Madelyn Rosenberg know what it’s like to stand out. Shang was the only Asian kid in her elementary school, and Rosenberg (who is also an Arlington Magazine contributor) was one of only a few Jewish students in hers. Ten years after they met at a writers group, Shang had the idea to combine their experiences in one book. “Here’s my pitch,” she told Rosenberg. “We’ll have a kid who is half Chinese, half Jewish, and we’ll set it in the ’80s when we both grew up.” Rosenberg agreed, and This Is Just a Test, a novel for middle-grade readers, was recently published by Scholastic.

“We talked about all the shared memories we had,” Shang says. “One of the big ones was watching [the movie] The Day After. So that was what kick-started the whole story.” The book’s hero, David Da-Wei Horowitz, juggles preparing for his bar mitzvah with playing on a trivia team and worrying about nuclear war.
“Our message to our readers is that we’ve been through scary times before,” Rosenberg says. “We got through them,” Shang continues, “and we’ll get through them again.”;

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Categories: Parents & Kids