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Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Girl Named Faithful Plum

Richard Bernstein describes his wife’s younger years in A Girl Named Faithful Plum: The True Story of a Dancer from China and How She Achieved Her Dream. In 1977, Zhongmei was an eleven-year-old growing up in a small farm town in China. She loved to dance and was determined to audition in the big city of Beijing for their elite dance company. Her family had to make huge sacrifices for her to travel days just to try out for this prestigious dance troupe. She quickly realizes the prejudices she must face because she is not a cultured city girl with connections. She works hard each and every day to learn how to be the best. She is forced to grow up quickly, just to fit in. The author does an excellent job of describing the government changes during that time period and how the big cities differed from the rural areas of China. I appreciate how far Zhongmei came from her humble beginnings with loving siblings to the exalted stage. I am placing this book on my 6th grade reading list next year – what a great tie in to World Cultures. Watch the video clip below to see Zhongmei’s dances.

A Girl Named Faithful Plum-Dance Excerpt from zhongmei li on Vimeo.

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