Little White Duck: A Childhood in China – Paydayloansnsi.co.uk


Little White Duck: A Childhood in China Graphic memoirs are a cornerstone of the graphic novel format, but rarely are they written with children as the primary audience In eight short stories, Liu has done just that, giving younger readers a glimpse into her life growing up in China just after the death of Chairman Mao By linking her stories to a teaching by Confucius that says one learns in three waysby studying history, by imitating others, and through ones own experienceLiu shows how her parents survived the famine during Chinas Great Leap Forward, how the death of soldier Lei Feng influenced the behavior of Liu and her sister, and how a trip to the countryside to visit her relations helped Liu realize just how privileged her life in the city was The stories are vivid even without Martinzs bold artwork that evokes both traditional Chinese scrolls and midcentury propaganda posters The result is a memoir that reads like a fable, a good story with a moral that resonates Grades Eva VolinGraphic memoirs are a cornerstone of the graphic novel format, but rarely are they written with children as the primary audience In eight short stories, Liu has done just that, giving younger readers a glimpse into her life growing up in China just after the death of Chairman Mao By linking her stories to a teaching by Confucius that says one learns in three waysby studying history, by imitating others, and through one s own experienceLiu shows how her parents survived the famine during China s Great Leap Forward, how the death of soldier Lei Feng influenced the behavior of Liu and her sister, and how a trip to the countryside to visit her relations helped Liu realize just how privileged her life in the city was The stories are vivid even without Martinz s bold artwork that evokes both traditional Chinese scrolls and midcentury propaganda posters The result is a memoir that reads like a fable, a good story with a moral that resonates Booklist Online Website This title travels through the childhood of Na Liu in Wuhan, China in eight delightful stories The book is illustrated by her husband with colorful pen and ink drawings The stories take Na and her sister from the death of Chairman Mao to a visit to her grandmother and relatives who live in the countryside One of the stories explains the various symbols used during Chinese New Year The China of her childhood is a different country from her parents This is a beautiful introduction to a China that few of us will ever understand The book also contains a glossary of Mandarin Chinese words used as well as translations of Chinese characters in the various chapters starred, Library Media Connection Journal Wife and husband team Na Liu and Andrs Vera Martnez use a graphic novel format to bring Lius childhood in s Wuhan, China, to life for contemporary children Much will seem the samefamily life with a younger sister, school, a visit with a semi scary grandmotherbut the particulars in the eight vignettes included here make all the difference Liu recalls her uncontrollable and uncomprehending sobbing at the death of a grandpa she did not really know, Chairman Mao creativity and finally subterfuge is required when her teacher commands each student to bring in four rat tails as evidence of participation in the government campaign to rid the country of vermin Illustrator Martnez gleefully pictures the sisters elaborate fantasies for rat trapping like putting a soybean up the butt of one rat, sending it into a frenzy that will cause it to kill the rest of the pack as well as their eventual mutual admittance that they can t even touch a rat to sever the required tail EEEYuu GROSS Author and illustrator together give us an unvarnished and intimate account of a real childhood plain speaking, rough hewn, and very much down to earth While the time and place the book depicts are very different from our own, there s not a hint of sentimentality or exoticism the scene where the mother shames the girls into cleaning their plates by telling them the real story about starving children in China is simultaneously horrifying and hilarious A glossary, a chronology, and an authors note provide context starred, The Horn Book MagazineJournal Americans today are used to a particular narrative when it comes to Communist China In the beginning, Maoist ideals provide the Chinese protagonists with comfort and hope Eventually, though, ideals give way to sufferingMy mother s family escaped from mainland China just as the Communist Party came to power Growing up, I was steeped in this narrative through my family s stories I opened Na Liu and Andrs Vera Martnez s Little White Duck A Childhood in China expecting to encounter it once again Little White Duck is a collection of eight autobiographical short stories from Liu s own childhood, illustrated as comics by Martnez Liu grew up in China during the s and s, then came to the United States inas a research scientist Martnez is her American born husbandEarly in the book, a young Liu, nicknamed Da Qin Big Piano , finds her parents in their kitchen They tell her that her grandfather has passed away Da Qin starts to cry, but can t figure out which grandfather they re mourning Later, her family walks past a giant mural of Chairman Mao Ooooh Da Qin says, pointing to the mural That grandpa Da Qin s parents take her to a vigil for the deceased leader My parents would explain that sad day to me many years later, Liu writesI thought Liu would explain that sad day in accordance with my family s stories perhaps she would describe the horrors of the Cultural Revolution Maybe Martnez would trace the ribs of a re education camp victim with his delicate brushInstead, Da Qin tells her family s stories After her mother got polio, Mao s army performed multiple surgeries free and helped her to walk again A government scholarship enabled her father to leave behind the backbreaking life of a farmer Her parents married and made a prosperous life for their two children, Da Qin and her younger sister, Xiao Qin Little PianoAt this point, I almost put the book down Reading about the virtues of Chinese Communism felt like a betrayal of my family However, Liu s writing and Martnez s cartooning compelled me to continue Little White Duck isn t Communist propaganda It is at onceinnocent andsophisticated What Liu and Martnez do is convey a child s eye view of a country in transition Politics, culture and history play into their stories, but the reader s awareness of them is a child s awareness The mural of Mao and the ancient gods and the colorful posters encouraging patriotic behavior are probably important, but fireworks, schemes to catch rats and pretty jackets with soft little white duck shaped patches are so muchinterestingLiu and Martnez perfectly capture that childhood exuberance, but grown up sensibilities nonetheless underlie their storytelling Every so often, Martnez s panels give way to propagandistic images, forcing a dialogue between Da Qin s real life and the ideal life espoused by her governmentMartnez maintains a beautiful hand drawn quality throughout, even in his lettering This makes the occasional intrusion of blatantly digital effects all thejarring In a scene in which Da Qin s family prepares for a New Year celebration, the Chinese calligraphy adorning the hallway is so clearly cut and pasted that it undermines the book s intimacy Little White Duck closes with a wrenching tale of Da Qin s trip to the countryside, where she meets her father s relatives for the first time Her cousins marvel at the soft little white duck shaped patch on her pretty jacket Then they blacken it with their dirty fingers Instead of toys, they play with bugs Their poverty leaves Da Qin speechlessBy realizing that inequality exists even in the People s Republic, Da Qin the child begins to grow into Liu the adult Perhaps Little White Duck isn t so different from my family s stories after all By the end of the book, though, I didn t really care, and that s the brilliance of what Liu and Martnez have done Their characters arethan just pieces to be puzzled into someone else s narrative They re living, breathing people The New York Times Book Review Newspaper A striking glimpse into Chinese girlhood during the s and s Beginning with a breathtaking dream of riding a golden crane over the city of Wuhan, China, Liu Na, recounts her subsequent waking only to discover that Chairman Mao has passed away Theyear old finds this difficult to process and understand, although she is soon caught up in the somber mood of the event From there, her life unfolds in short sketches With this intimate look at her childhood memories, Liu skillfully weaves factual tidbits into the rich tapestry of her life In the section titled The Four Pests, she explains about the four pests that plague Chinathe rat, the fly, the mosquito and the cockroach with an additional explanation of how the sparrow once made this list, and why it is no longer on it and her stomach turning school assignment to catch rats and deliver the severed tails to her teacher In Happy New Year The Story of Nian the Monster, she explains the origins of Chinese New Year, her favorite holiday, and her own vivid, visceral reflections of it the sights, sounds and smells Extraordinary and visually haunting, there will be easy comparisons to Allen Say s Drawing from Memorythink of this as the female counterpart to that work Beautifully drawn and quietly evocative starred, Kirkus Reviews Journal This extraordinary memoir offers readers a close up picture of life in s ChinaCalled Da Qin Big Piano , Na Liu was born near Wuhan, China, inThe book opens as four year old Da Qin wakes up next to her younger sister Thinking she ll be late for school, she grabs a cup, and heads outside to a spigot to brush her teeth But there is no school today It is September and Chairman Mao has died Unlike many books written by Chinese born Americans about life under Mao, Na Liu s demonstrates the benefits of the regime to her family, especially to her mother who, paralyzed by polio as a girl, was able to walk again Andrs Vera Martnez Babe Ruth , Na Liu s husband, co author and the artist of the book, uses the graphic novel format to perfection, zeroing in on young Da Qin s face when she sees her parents sorrow, and conveying the chairman s importance through wide angle views of Mao s likeness on street murals and bannersIn the last and most moving chapter, Little White Duck, Da Qin insists on wearing her coat with a velvet white duck to her Baba s rural village By the close of the book, Da Qin has learned firsthand of the disparities that her mother and father told her about, and gained compassion because of it Liu and Martnez find the universal moments in the details of an exotic land, inviting readers to see themselves in Da Qin s experiences of friendship, family and countryAn extraordinary graphic novel memoir by a husband and wife team offering a rare view of s China Shelf Awareness Website Based on her childhood experiences, Na Liu and her husband have created a rich, multilayered memoir, incorporating history, geography, language, culture, and mythology into eight short stories then weaving them together to create an exquisite tapestry of life in China during the s The work follows a logical progression, capturing youthful experiences against a broad Chinese landscape Background information establishes each story and seamlessly segues into personal reminiscence, with excellent interweaving of each section For example, the introductory dream sequence features Na Liu and her sister flying on a crane s back over panoramic China The first narrative panel depicts the girls awakening, with a painting of a white crane visible behind their bed Mythological origins of New Year transition into an account of the family s celebration, with red banners and a dragon puppet echoing the colors and patterns from the previous holiday description Scenes of daily life are juxtapostioned against the political climate, retelling simple stories through comic panels that can be enjoyed by young readers, but also delivering interesting perspectives and biting commentary on social issues The grim realities of government propaganda, social class, and family dynamics make the memoir evenpoignant Humor, as well as the plays on words, enlivens many of the sections The children s expressive faces provide a personal reaction to these contrasting points of view This picturesque treasure introduces Chinese culture through a personal perspective that is both delightful and thought provoking starred, School Library Journal Journal A doctor of oncology and hematology, author Liu was born in China in , and her life there forthanyears provides plenty of odd autobiographical tidbits for this graphic novel inspired by her experiences Aimed toward kids, Liu s story captures life in China in the experience of one child, showing how even the broadest governmental policies and cultural standards affect an individual s smallest moments These darker corners give Liu s reminiscence its power strict Chinese one child laws, the graphic misfortune of animals in China, the poverty and surliness of Liu s rural relatives Yet while the landscape is different, the children s escapades are the same as those of kids today This is the result of a husband and wife collaboration, and the emotional bond of the partnership is clear on every page Liu is a calm storyteller whose words are enlivened by Martinez s enthusiastic and energetic art, and their respective tones complement each other fluidly Martinez s work is a loving depiction of his wife in childhood, providing atmosphere through not only his period details in the stories, but also the between story spreads that broaden the reader s scope in understanding life in China at that time Publishers Weekly Journal



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