Most people cannot remember when their childhood ended. I, on the other hand, have a crystal-clear memory of that moment. It happened at night in the summer of 1966, when my elementary school headmaster hanged himself.
In 1966 Moying, a student at a prestigious language school in Beijing, seems destined for a promising future. Everything changes when student Red Guards begin to orchestrate brutal assaults, violent public humiliations, and forced confessions. After watching her teachers and headmasters beaten in public, Moying flees school for the safety of home, only to witness her beloved grandmother denounced, her home ransacked, her fathers precious books flung onto the back of a truck, and Baba himself taken away. From labor camp, Baba entrusts a friend to deliver a reading list of banned books to Moying so that she can continue to learn. Now, with so much of her life at risk, she finds sanctuary in the world of imagination and learning.
This inspiring memoir follows Moying Li from age twelve to twenty-two, illuminating a complex, dark time in Chinas history as it tells the compelling story of one girls difficult but determined coming-of-age during the Cultural Revolution.
Li's story, though rooted in China, will speak to every young person struggling to realize his or her ambitions, and to every loving family facing hardship or loss. Young readers will appreciate Li's plainspoken style, her restraint, and the clarity with which she describes the unthinkable as well as the beautiful. Adult readers will find much to admire, and will discover not only a poignant story of a vanished world, but a meditation on what parents can and cannot give their children: They cannot guarantee peace or prosperity, they cannot always be present, but as Li puts it, parents can bestow a profound "sense of direction." (Reviewed by Jo Perry).
New York Post
Required Reading - From 12 to 22, Moying Li witnessed... city dwellers and intellectuals sent to the countryside for forced farm labor; marauding Red Guards. Her school headmaster hanged himself. But she survives to become one of the first Chinese students to study in the U.S., and now lives in Boston. She tells the story with simple eloquence.
The narrative will enable readers to sympathize with Li and feel relief when she leaves to study at Swarthmore College after ten years of education in China.
School Library Journal
Beautifully written...offers a somewhat broader view of a nation in turmoil and illustrates the grit and determination necessary for survival in a dysfunctional society.
Starred Review. The simple, direct narrative will grab readers with the eloquent account of daily trauma and hope.
Starred Review. Li effectively builds the climate of fear that accompanies the rise of the Red Guard... Sketches about her grandparents root the narrative within a broader context of Chinese traditions as well as her own family's values.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by MaryAnnie Inspiring When I read this book I thought it was incredible. I learned a lot about the character and it taught me a lot, that I should be grateful for my education and everything because not everyone have the same level of education as I do and there are a... Read More
Rated of 5
by Louise J Compelling Moying Li was 4-years-old in 1958 and lived with her maternal grandmother and grandfather, Lao Lao and Lao Ye in a traditional Chinese house. It was also occupied by her mother and father, her 3-year-old brother Di Di, aunts and uncles, the family... Read More
Rated of 5
by Laurie Milton Inspiring! This book was given to me as a birthday present and I am so grateful.
The beautiful soul of writer Moying shines through and matches the beautiful author photograph.
I am inspired to follow my dream and I deeply believe I can do it, referencing... Read More
Rated of 5
by H. Supreme I am only half way through the book but is one of the best books I have ever read! I usually do not read memoirs (because I like fiction) but my wonderful grandmother turned me to this book and I decided to give it a try. When i started to read... Read More
Banned and Challenged Books in America
Some of the most memorable and painful moments in Snow Falling in Spring
involve the solace of reading and the loss and destruction of books.
American readers might be surprised to know that in America books are frequently
challenged and even banned.
The American Library Association explains the difference between a challenge
and a banning of a book as follows: "A challenge is an attempt to remove or
restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is
the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person
expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from
the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others."
The American Library Association lists the top ten most frequently challenged or banned books of 2009, as reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom
And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
From within the hopelessness and terror of one of the darkest passages in human history, Dai Sijie has fashioned a beguiling and unexpected story about the resilience of the human spirit, the wonder of romantic awakening and the magical power of storytelling.
At once a powerful allegory of a rising China, racked by contradictions, and a seminal examination of the Tiananmen Square protests, Beijing Coma is Ma Jians masterpiece. Spiked with dark wit, poetic beauty, and deep rage, this extraordinary novel confirms his place as one of the worlds most significant living writers.
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