Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party

Nine-year-old Ling is comfortable; her parents are both dedicated surgeons in the best hospital in Wuhan. But when Comrade Li, one of Mao’s political officers, moves into a room in their apartment, Ling begins to witness the gradual disintegration of her world. In an atmosphere of increasing mistrust, Ling fears for the safety of her neighbors and, soon, for herself and family. Over the course of four years, Ling manages to grow and blossom, even as she suffers more horrors than many people face in a lifetime. Drawing from her childhood experience, Ying Chang Compestine brings hope and humor to this compelling story for all ages about a girl fighting to survive during the Cultural Revolution in China.

Related: China, Historical Fiction, Intermediate (ages 9-14)

2 thoughts on “Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party

  1. It’s often the case that books of historical fiction necessarily portray difficult – even horrific – experiences of children, families, cultures, and societies. Certainly books about the Chinese Cultural Revolution fall into this category of books that can be difficult to read, and this book is no exception. I think young adult readers will appreciate Ling’s strength and the fact that she stays true to herself and her family, but it is paintful to read about what happens to her, her family, friends and neighbors as China’s cultural revolution winds down. How do teachers approach these kinds of difficult books with their students? Do students ever choose to read these books on their own?

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