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Little White Duck : A Childhood in China
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Little White Duck : A Childhood in China

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  3,381 Ratings  ·  276 Reviews
The world is changing for two girls in China in the 1970s. Da Qin—Big Piano—and her younger sister, Xiao Qin—Little Piano—live in the city of Wuhan with their parents. For decades, China's government had kept the country separated from the rest of the world. When their country's leader, Chairman Mao, dies, new opportunities begin to emerge. Da Qin and Xiao Qin soon learn t ...more
Paperback, 108 pages
Published December 8th 2012 by Minneapolis : Graphic Universe (first published January 1st 2012)
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Betsy
Sep 03, 2012 Betsy rated it it was amazing
It's funny to think about, but the fact of the matter is that we're still in the early days of the graphic novel memoir for children. Adult graphic novel memoirs are capable of winning top literary awards, like the Pulitzer or the National Book Award. On the kid side of things the options are far more limited. The top literary prize for kids, the Newbery, has never been handed to a comic work, nor does the American Library Association have a prize for comics of any sort. All this comes to mind w ...more
Nadine
Jan 15, 2014 Nadine rated it liked it
This is a really hard book to review. On the one hand the author is to be lauded for bringing her growing up to a wider and younger audience, on the other.... I know too many adult Chinese - perhaps of a generation older than her who suffered terribly under Mao. The saying "ren shi ren" arose in the great famine where people were literally eating other peoples children to survive. Her parents benefited from communism as the were born on the right side of the wrong side of the tracks. If they'd b ...more
Dov Zeller
Apr 21, 2015 Dov Zeller rated it really liked it
The cover of this book shows a brooding or angry or unhappy girl looking straight at the reader, her gloved hands at her sides, one of them holding a purse. A few bare branches in the distance are a little seasonal flag and I imagine it must be late fall or winter or early spring. The girl takes up most of the frame. She wears a green coat with a little white duck sewn on, just about the center point of the page. A striped scarf is tied neatly around her neck. Its off-white and orange matches th ...more
Wandering Librarians
Da Qin and her little sister are growing up in China during a time of change. Chairman Mao has just died, leading to the country opening slightly to the Western world. La Liu remembers moments that made an impact on her life.

This is a memoir, but it does not tell the story of Na Liu's entire life. Rather it is a series of short stories, small moments from her childhood. While we don't learn all about Na Liu's life, we are given a clear glimpse into the life of a child in China growing up after t
...more
Tintaglia
May 12, 2012 Tintaglia rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-books, arcs, comics
Piccole storie di un'infanzia: non un'infanzia dorata, ma quella che è stata una comune, diffusa infanzia nella Cina degli anni '70, subito dopo la morte di Mao.

E' così che inizia il racconto di Liu Na, con la morte del "nonno" Mao e le lacrime della madre e del padre, e una cerimonia che lei, bambina di tre anni, non capisce, ma a cui piange disperatamente per la disperazione che la circonda.

Storie da un'infanzia comune, storie da un'infanzia che fa da ponte, sospesa tra la povertà e i sacrific
...more
Louise
Dec 14, 2012 Louise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved the style of the drawings! They went well with both the old timey propaganda posters as well as the more fantastical elements.

The writing was also good by being both sparse enough for readers to pay attention to the drawings as well as descriptive enough to convey the tone at the time. My favorite "chapter" is the eponymous one.

While I probably liked this more because I could relate to the narrator, being a bridge from my parents communist China life to our new modern one, I think everyo
...more
Joey Parisik
Jan 09, 2015 Joey Parisik rated it it was ok
this is a weird book. i didn't really enjoy it as much as i thought i would. i thought it focused to much on making the title make sense rather then clearly define what the story was about. i myself would rather hear about why certain things happened the way they did. the art was was textured like an old piece of parchment witch i thought was pretty cool. i wouldn't know who to recommend this to because i wants entirely fond of it.
Beth
Dec 02, 2012 Beth rated it really liked it
I am always fascinated by memoirs and fictional/autobiographical accounts of people's lives in China during the Cultural Revolution. Little White Duck is unique in the sense that it takes place as Chairman Mao has died and China is going through more changes.
Edward Sullivan
Sep 06, 2012 Edward Sullivan rated it it was amazing
An exceptional graphic memoir about growing up in China in the 1970s. Superbly written and illustrated.
Desiree Brunelle
Dec 10, 2014 Desiree Brunelle rated it really liked it
little white duck is about a girl named Na, but in her culture no one calls you by your actually name because they believed that if a demon comes looking for you they will not be able to find you because you are using a nickname not your actually name. Na's nick name was at first Qin, but once her little sister was born it changed to Da qin which means "Big Piano". as her little sister is called little piano. Da qin has a good life she goes to school and gets to learn, she loves to learn. Da qin ...more
Destinee Sutton
There are eight stories that make up this graphic novel about a little girl growing up in China in the 1970s. The one that struck me the most was about the mother's memories of the Great Famine (of 1958-61). It was harrowing, but also couched in the familiar experience of the child who doesn't want to finish her dinner.

The thing about this book is that the material was so unknown to me. How many children's books tackle what life was like for an average Chinese girl during that time? Indeed, the
...more
Rebecca
Wonderfully done graphic novel memoir for kids about the author Na Liu's childhood in China in the 1970s; illustrated by her Texan artist husband. The story is told through small vignettes that are both universal childhood experiences (pretending to be a hero with your sister) and particular to the context (crying over the death of Mao because everyone else is crying). Deceptively simple and very well done.

"I read in the writings of Confucius that there are three ways to learn...First: by studyi
...more
Erin Reilly-Sanders
I looooove this book! It's probably my favorite book read this year. Everything it does, it does well, even down to the somber but rich red endpapers. The story is fascinating, both in the subject and the telling of it. I love the non-chronological short stories. Somehow they weave together history, family, people, events, and mythology in a perfect blend that left me tearing up in spots. The art is also fabulous- the sober colors and lack of white add an air of oppression without overwhelming t ...more
Allie
A very child-appropriate graphic memoir of growing up in China. It's made by a husband and wife team (rad!), motivated by the fact that the experiences she had and the era in which she grew up is almost non-existent. And certainly the China of her parents' youth is nearly gone from living memory. It was structured as little vignettes about different events, like visiting her father's family in a very poor rural area and Chinese New Year (her favorite holiday).

It was especially interesting to rea
...more
Aurora
Oct 15, 2014 Aurora rated it liked it
"Little White Duck: a childhood in China", is a memoir graphic novel depicting the childhood of the author, Na Liu, as she grew up in China. Her collection of short stories occur during the 1970s. We learn about Chinese culture, government, and family life through the eyes of Na Liu as she grows up.
I enjoyed this book. I admired how Na Liu incorporated many Chinese customs into her childhood experiences. For example, she explains the origins of Chinese New Year while she attends the festival. I
...more
Kathy
Sep 06, 2012 Kathy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: j-nonfiction
A graphic rendition of incidents from the author's childhood in Wuhan, China in the 1970s from Mao’s death to a visit to her country cousins where she sees real poverty.
What is striking here is the author's perfect depiction of the political attitudes of the day - her child-like acceptance of things like not being able to go to school officially since her parents had two children, the campaign against the four pests (the group now including cockroaches instead of sparrows), and her adulation and
...more
Beth
I found this collection to be intriguing but uneven. I highly recommend adults read throught this first before reading to your kids. Not that I disapprove of stories about kids killing rats, killing chicks through over-watering, or learning about the Great Famine in China. (I'm the mom who talks about Nazi's at the dinner table!)

It's just that sometime at bedtime, I'm not in the mood for it.

I enjoyed the two chapters about New Years Eve the best! The magic realism is captivating and the descri
...more
Kaethe
Tash read it first because China and Graphic Novel. Now that I've finished it, I really want Veronica to give it a go. We just had a conversation about how Chairman Mao was both responsible for a tremendous amount of death and suffering and was also beloved by many people, for bringing a nation from subsistence farming into industrialization. This collection of incidents in the life of a modern Chinese girl (born 1973), helps explain those two extremes. On the one hand, education, health care, f ...more
Dolores
Dec 05, 2012 Dolores rated it really liked it
A graphic memoir of the author's childhood in China. The book is told in vignettes that make it very accessible for younger readers. The various stories represent an array of events from the author's childhood and stories she learned as a child. It's an interesting balance that gives the reader a nice sense of China through a child's eyes. There are hints of poverty and political events, but only as our young narrator interprets them. The art is lovely and marries well with the story. Very well ...more
Wendy
Sep 04, 2012 Wendy rated it really liked it
I didn't understand this book at all on the first read; I was puzzled about where it was going and how one chapter related to the next. I wish the book had been clearer, somehow, about the fact that it wasn't going anywhere and that the only theme was "Childhood in China 1976-1980". Once I could stop trying to find a story that wasn't there, the charm of the book came out for me. Da Qin is like Ramona or Clementine... and it is refreshing not to be taught a lesson. The pictures are charming.
Bekah
This was a cute selection of short stories, but it was definitely aimed at a young audience. Despite that, I enjoyed reading it. The art was decent, the colors a bit muted. But Da Qin was adorable. It was interesting to learn about China in the 1970's, but I feel like it could have expanded on things a bit more. Another 100 pages to flesh out the various stories would have been great.
Jamie
Mar 03, 2013 Jamie rated it liked it
Shelves: 10-12, biography, china
Touching vignettes really don't need background information, although teachers using this in a classroom could add a lot of texture by adding it. Lovely artwork.
Luca G
Oct 02, 2016 Luca G rated it really liked it
Shelves: grade-7-shelf
I like the book because we see chinese tradishons and it also teach us how good we have it today.
Pat
Nov 23, 2015 Pat rated it really liked it
It's too short but quite fun some other books can be more fun. A childhood in China. One day the poor kids touch her soft little duck on her sweater, and it got dirty....stories not much
K
Sep 22, 2016 K rated it really liked it
Excellent, beautiful.
Rick Silva
May 17, 2017 Rick Silva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of stories from the writer's childhood in China during the 1970s, beginning with the death of Chairman Mao Zedong. Events of the Cultural Revolution and the beginnings of China opening up to the world are seen through the eyes of a child who is focused on the day to day events of her life more than on the large scale events around her.

The stories are charming and the illustrations beautiful. There is family drama, and glimpses of both the traditional lifestyles and the trans
...more
Elizabeth A
2.5 stars.

This graphic memoir is a collection of eight short stories based on the author's childhood in 1970s China. This book is targeted for middle school readers, and it's a good introduction to some Chinese culture and history. The stories center around Na Liu and her younger sister, and as if often the case in all cultures, much of what is going on in the adult world makes little sense to the young. I especially liked the way class is explored in the title story, however the book lacked eno
...more
Maggie
Autobiographical graphic novel that depicts, in nine short chapters, the author's childhood in Wuhan, China. Liu seems to be the daughter of survivors of the Great Leap Forward. The book depicts the mourning after Mao's death, a visit to the author's father's family in the countryside and the shocking conditions, and festivities for Lunar New Year. All told very charmingly through a child's perspective. Probably good for ages 10 and up.
Danielle Bizjak
May 18, 2017 Danielle Bizjak rated it it was amazing
Such a beautiful little book. I loved the illustrations and the little stories. A great introduction to Chinese life that doesn't feel demeaning to the reader. Excellent for kids and adults. Graphic novels are certainly getting better and better.
Thanks goodreads for recommending this to me!
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