Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution, by Ji-ji Jiang
Goodreads summary: In 1966 Ji–li Jiang turned twelve. An outstanding student and leader, she had everything: brains, the admiration of her peers, and a bright future in China’s Communist Party. But that year China’s leader, Mao Ze-dong, launched the Cultural Revolution, and everything changed. Over the next few years Ji–li and her family were humiliated and scorned by former friends, neighbors, and co–workers. They lived in constant terror of arrest. Finally, with the detention of her father, Ji–li faced the most difficult choice of her life.
Told with simplicity and grace, this is the true story of one family’s courage and determination during one of the most terrifying eras of the twentieth century.
I’ve read Red Scarf Girl three times: for the first time, in sixth grade, when I’m not really sure how I got my hands on it; for the second time, in my sophomore year of college, when I reread it for my undergrad thesis* on who gets to tell the stories of the Cultural Revolution in the U.S.; and a third time, last year, when a fourth grade teacher asked me to review it and help decide whether or not it was acceptable for her advanced fourth graders to read during their unit on governments.
(*Don’t write your undergrad thesis as a sophomore.)
What is Obscenity? The Story of a Good for Nothing Artist and her Pussy, by Rokudenashiko
The trials and tribulations of Rokudenashiko have always fascinated me. Her vagina kayak was “obscene,” but the barely pixelated pornography in every convenience store is totally A-OK?
(Books like this are also why I don’t blog under my real name. I’m a grown-up; I read grow-up books, but I don’t really need my students searching for my name and finding this.)