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Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this a memoir of a girl growing up during China's Cultural Revolution and includes details about beatings and suicides. Ji-Li Jiang paints a clear and devastating portrait of a brutal political movement that ruined many lives -- and had a deep impact on her family. The engaging story makes young readers want to know more about the subject. A helpful glossary translates foreign words and phrases used in the text.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In her memoir of growing up in Shanghai during China's Cultural Revolution, Ji-Li Jiang paints a clear and devastating portrait of a brutal political movement that ruined many lives -- and had a deep impact on her own family. The engaging story makes young readers want to know more about the subject.
Is it any good?
Torn by conflicting emotions, author Ji-Li Jiang is the perfect guide to the complexities of the Cultural Revolution, which many readers will encounter for the first time here. She struggles to be a good Communist almost to the end of the book, even trying at one point to change her name to avoid being identified with the landlord Jiangs. At the same time, Ji-Li is too intelligent to ignore the ironies and contradictions in her tormentors' dogma. Jiang's writing sometimes strains for effect, and the narrative ends abruptly, but the story is engaging. She is a true hero who honestly relates her experiences as a child in a complicated time, her growing conclusions about what was happening around her -- and the difficult choices she had to make.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about personal memoirs. How do stories like this impact the way we learn history? What are the advantages and disadvantages in learning about events this way?
Also, can you think of other memoirs by young people who lived through dramatic or terrifying events? What are some other historical autobiographies you would be interested in? Check out Common Sense Media list of recommended books on this page for some ideas.
For kids who love history
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