In 1966, when Ji-Li Jiang was 12 years old, Chairman Mao of China instituted that country's Cultural Revolution. Chinese citizens were expected to do away with the “Four Olds:” old ideas, old cultures, old customs, and old habits. Overnight, Ji-Li’s status as a top student and class leader changed dramatically: her grandfather, who had passed way, was branded a “filthy capitalist” (he had been a landlord), and she and her whole family were ostracized as a result. To make matters worse, government officials pressured the girl to renounce her parents. It is a time when intelligence is looked down upon, brainwashing is the order of the day, humiliation is an everyday experience, and traditional respect has no place. Ji-Li makes the horror of the Cultural Revolution come alive in this vibrant narrative. Her memoir will keep readers fascinated until the very end, and is invaluable as a guide to understanding this turbulent period in history and the reasons behind it.
320 pages. Ages 12-15
Recommended by Basya Karp, Librarian.
Editor's note: Recommended for 8th grade curriculum -- female author, female protagonist, diverse cultural perspective