Tuesday, December 3, 2013


By Na Liu
Illustrated by Andres Vera Martinez
Published by Graphic Universe
Copyright © 2012

Review by Anthony Kendrick

What was your childhood like? How does your childhood compare to your parents or you’re your grandparents childhood? Have you ever asked them about their life?

Na Liu was born in Communist China in the 1970’s at the end of the Cultural Revolution. This was a time of great turmoil but also great change, the China of that time was very insular, but it would slowly open up to the rest of the world. Na tells 8 stories from her childhood to share with others what it was like for a child in China then, and how it compares to her parents and grandparents childhoods.

This book was, and was not, what I expected. I expected to see a dilapidated conformist environment, and this I did. That being the case I expected Na to tell me how horrible it was there and to rail against the Chinese government, but she didn’t. With the help of her husband and illustrator, Andres, she describes not just the pains but the joys of childhood in China. She actually points out how much better her childhood was as compared to previous generations and as compared to children in other parts of her country.

At the end of the book Na and Andre also provide some helpful components: a Chinese words glossary, a timeline of significant dates in Chinese History, Na Liu’s brief biography, translations of some Chinese characters, and the map of China and Hubei Province.

I found this book to be enlightening, enjoyable, and educational. It should appeal to 5th -8th graders or any reader interested in Chinese history and mythology.

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