I had the reading bug the other day, and found two books that are different, but important to know about. Both were read via online reader copies, and are future publications. I did have some trouble writing a review for them, as I wanted to do the subjects justice. I hope you, come Spring, pick up copies and enjoy, too.
Growing Up under a Red Flag: A Memoir of Surviving the Chinese Cultural Revolution by Ying Chang Compestine is an eye opening look at the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Due in May 2024, I read this via an online reader’s copy. A picture book memoir that captures the interesting day-to-day events of what one person’s experiences during the Cultural Revolution was like. The illustrations are rich and are their own character, while supporting the story. Xinmei Liu’s artwork is realistic, but is not harsh, but neither “happy.” Yet, there is a hint of something good to come. Each page is busy, and this fits the tone of what is happening. We see the crowds, mobs, and even the day our narrator (around 8 years old) assaults a boy for stealing her ration coupons.
Things are emotional and it is hard to pinpoint which event was the most emotional one as they all are important and powerful to the development of a child. Obviously, this is not an easy book to read, but an important one and one that is actually hopeful in the middle of all the things that should make them have a lack of hope. It might not be for the sensitive reader due to such things as the assault and the father’s arrest.
The second read, and a more upbeat story, is My Name Is Long as a River. This book by Suma Subramaniam hits a bit close to home. I have a longer and a slightly unusual name, and one that some people have difficulty remembering or correctly pronouncing. But the young narrator of our story has a name that is so long it won’t fit on her ticket for the train, nobody remembers it and she prefers a shortened version. Kaveri Thanjavur Jayalakshmi Ganesan does not see how wonderful her name is. That is until her family shows how each part was chosen to represent a member of their family, a piece of their culture, a piece and part of the land, and even a God. Tara Anand’s illustrations are rich and colorful. They capture India and the elements that make it and Kav’s family amazing. Due in late May/early June, this will be a great book to share in the classroom or with your own child. The author includes an afterwards to give more information about the subject.