Sarah's Stars

Jiang Ji-Li. Red Scarf Girl
Scholastic, ISBN 0-439-06300-0  $8.95  285 pg.

Have you ever imagined being trapped in choosing between your family or your friends? Between what you think seems 'right' or 'wrong' at the time?

Ji-li, called Jiang Ji-li by her friends and family, as it is polite to reverse first and last names in the Chinese culture, is in this difficult position of choices and beliefs ... and her decisions may mean life or death for others or even her. It is the beginning of the Chinese Cultural Revolution in 1966, and Ji-li is a proud follower of Chairman Mao, their 'beloved leader'. When Ji-li learns of her 'black' family history, which is counter-revolutionary, her reputation is in question.

This heartbreaking autobiography by Ji-li is so well written that you can feel what is befalling her family. Ji-li, in this 280 page story, has excellently portrayed the Chinese Cultural Revolution from the eyes of a 'red scarf girl'. Red Scarf Girl was very interesting, and full of emotion. I really enjoyed this particular novel, and highly recommend it to more advanced readers in Grade 6, and up.

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