Thursday, June 9, 2016

Red Scarf Girl - Book Review

Autobiography by Ji-Li Jiang

 Book Summary:

"This accessible autobiography is the true story of one girl's determination to hold her family together during one of the most terrifying eras of the twentieth century.
It's 1966, and twelve-year-old Ji-li Jiang has everything a girl could want: brains, friends, and a bright future in Communist China. But it's also the year that China's leader, Mao Ze-dong, launches the Cultural Revolution—and Ji-li's world begins to fall apart. Over the next few years, people who were once her friends and neighbors turn on her and her family, forcing them to live in constant terror of arrest. When Ji-li's father is finally imprisoned, she faces the most difficult dilemma of her life.

A personal and painful memoir—a page-turner as well as excellent material for social studies curricula—Red Scarf Girl also includes a thorough glossary and pronunciation guide."
I often look for living history books to share with my children because they remember the details better and it makes the event more real. I'm not just sharing boring dates and events, but reading someones story about events in their lives.

Red Scarf Girl is the autobiography of  Ji-Li Jaing and her experience as a young girl growing up in the Chinese Cultural Revolution.  Ji-Li  shares with her readers the struggles she saw as a young girl during this communist revolution. She wanted to support Mao Ze-dong but didn't always understand the violence going on around her.  Her family was on the receiving end of that violence because her grandfather was a landlord and her family was wealthy.  Being rich at that time could cause families to be separated, killed or sent to work on farms where they were whipped by the land owners.  For a time Ji-Li was ashamed of her family name and wanted to change her name and wished to be poor in the hopes that she could escape the backlash her family received.

 As I read of Ji-Li's blind faith in the Communist party and the horror going on around her,  I was a little annoyed with her lack of senses and hoped that she would eventually understand that what was going on around her was not right. That being said,   I think it would be hard for any 12 year old to fully grasp the injustices placed on a society such as the Chinese Cultural Revolution. What strength she has in sharing her feelings and thoughts with her readers.

Red Scarf Girl is well worth the read and a great way to introduce young learners Chinese history and to what communism looks like from the perspective of someone that was there. 


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