Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Little Leap Forward: A Boy in Beijing” as Want to Read:
Little Leap Forward: A Boy in Beijing
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Little Leap Forward: A Boy in Beijing

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  63 ratings  ·  30 reviews
A sensitively written, real-life story about a boy called Little Leap Forward, growing up in the hutongs of Beijing in the 1960s, at the time of the Cultural Revolution. Little Leap Forward offers children an intimate and immediate account of a child s experiences as Mao Tse Tungs Great Leap Forward policy tightens its grips on China.

Moonbeam Awards Gold Medal Winner 2008
...more
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published July 21st 2008 by Barefoot Books
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Little Leap Forward, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Little Leap Forward

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 117)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Katharine Ott
"When I was a little boy, I lived in an old courtyard in Beijing, China, between the Drum Tower, the Bell Tower, and the river." This short chapter book is a little jewel with its simple descriptions of the life of a young boy in Beijing during Mao's regime. Enhancing the package are colorful, charming drawings on the heavyweight pages and showy images of kites on the endpapers.

Co-authors Guo Yue and Clare Farrow, a husband and wife team, take us to the courtyards and river edges, the boundaries
...more
Barbara
A wonderful story for grades 3 to 6 about the Cultural Revolution. Based on Guo Yue’s childhood, this is a gentle story of life before and during the Cultural Revolution. The emphasis is on friendship, but the undercurrents of change and loss are strong. The book works for children younger than those who might read Ji-Liang Jiang's Red Scarf Girl because protagonist is younger, and though he feels and sees the changes that are happening in his world, because of his age, he doesn't completely und ...more
Erik This Kid Reviews Books
Little Leap Forward is a young boy living in Early Communist China. He and his friends have a pretty happy life. They fly homemade paper kites and play by the nearby river. They seem like they have a life that any kid would have. That is, until soldiers come and change everything! The soldiers want to get rid of “Old China” by burning and wrecking anything that reminds people of the way they used to live and to prepare for “New China”.

This is a great nonfiction autobiography that was written by
...more
Terry
This is a superbly crafted book. The pages are art-quality (typical of Barefoot Books) and the illustrations are beautifully presented and evoke a sense of time and place. There are at least two illustrations for each chapter. I particularly like how the diminuitive size of the book (5½ x 8 x ½ inches) adds dimension (no pun intended) to the story. It evokes the idea of holding a small yellow bird in your hand … it fits neatly, but not quite perfectly. It also reminds you that this is a child’s ...more
Tori
Sep 14, 2008 Tori rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Age 7 and up
This is Barefoot Books' first foray into young literary fiction, the first of several being released this year. This story of a boy growing up during China's cultural revolution is revealing and culturally accurate, but gentle for young readers. Guo Yue tells a story within a story of a young boy who longs to be kept safe and in return cages a bird, hoping to make it sing. When he realizes the bird must be free, something in him is freed as well. The lyrical voice of a young Guo Yue, a musician, ...more
Eva Mitnick
Grades 3 to 6
8-year-old Leap Forward, living in an old part of Beijing in 1966, thinks his life is just about right. Sure, he misses his dead father, and it would be great to have a bit more food on the table – his mom and five sisters have to carefully count out every grain of rice. But Leap Forward flies kites with his best friend Little-Little, makes friends with pretty Blue, tends his silkworms, and tries to encourage his caged wild bird to sing by playing on a flute.

Leap Forward doesn’t thi
...more
Maria
I found this book to be cute, especially the photos, which were well-drawn. I was surprised to read that this book was actually based on the author's childhood growing up in China. The story has a great analogy to it, which compares the bird's life to those living in China during that time. If you are interested to learn more about China's trials and tribulations during the Cultural Revolution however, in a way which is easy to explain to children, this is definitely the book for you. I found th ...more
Jenny
Great book and suitable for juniors, although anyone will find it interesting. It As the son of a musician, little Yue inhabits his own childish world with his friend and his pet bird. The details are absorbing, and the storyline revolves round Yue’s trapping, caging and cherishing of Little Cloud,the bird. It gives a wonderful description of life during the Cultural Revolution from the innocent viewpoint of a child. It is also a lovely and well designed book with beautiful illustrations. as it ...more
Caiti
I picked up this little jewel of a book in our library's new arrivals, amazed at such pretty illustrations in the adult shelves. Turns out, it's a children's book. Not what I was looking for, but I love children's lit, so I kept it and loved it.

Completed in less than an afternoon, it's a very short little piece - a snapshot, almost, of a little boy's life in Communist China. A poignant memoir in miniature written by flutist and composer Guo Yue. A tiny but vivid word-painting about beauty and fr
...more
Lani Christensen
I loved the perspective this short read afforded me. I know little of what it would be like to grow up under communism but this book gave me a look into it. Well written with fantastic pictures.
Emilie Sargent
Beautiful illustrations and the background was based on the author's own experiences.
Amy
I liked this little book a lot. The author is two years younger than I am, and tells about a time in his younger years, just before his mother was arrested and sent for "re-education". Central to the book is the pet bird he had, which had been wild and would not sing for him. It's a poignant story but not unbearably so. I would recommend it to young people interested in China, as well as older folks who want an honest, short account of childhood in China just prior to the terrible Cultural Revol ...more
The Styling Librarian
Historical Fiction - Interesting glimpse into the life of a boy growing up in Beijing, China in 1966. I appreciated the growth of the character and also the subtle points on pet keeping and animal's right to freedom. Rich language and beautiful pictures additionally bring this story to life. (Enjoyed the following movie which showed me many other books I should investigate, but it went quite fast. At least on the notes portion there are details!)
Jenny
Kind of easy for me, but I read it because the author shared my mom's name. It's definitely not a intense, exciting read, or a page turner. It's pretty good, but it's not like I would die if I don't read it. Very short read about a boy who lived in China during the beginning of the Culture Revolution, inspired by the author's own life. Not an adventure story, but merely a story about how a boy learned that you can never be happy if you're trapped.
Abbie
This was a really cute little book. It took about five minutes to read but it was a very nice five minutes. The comparison between the caged bird and the cultural revolution in China was really clever and made it so little kids could understand the cultural revolution. The illustrations were gorgeous as well. Curiously enough, right after I read this book I was assigned a geography project on the Great Leap Forward. That was sort of funny.
Lain
An excellent introduction into the horrors Mau Zedong wrought through the Cultural Revolution. It put a personal face on communism for my kids, without being too graphic or scary. The combination of the simple prose with the gorgeous, colorful paintings made an impression on all of us. We now are seeking out other age-appropriate books to read on the topic of life under a communist rule.
Stargazer
I got this book because my partner's father fled China at the onset of the Cultural Revolution and I thought he might like it. Turns out he has met the author and has some tapes of him and his brother from years back.
Nice little book, would use it if a China-related topic came up at school.
Sam Bloom
Interesting, mostly biographical book about a boy growing up in Beijing in the midst of the Cultural Revolution. Mao and his teachings are mostly background noise to the everyday life of Little Leap Forward and his friend, Little-Little. Excellent illustrations.
Victoria Whipple
Little Leap Forward is a young boy living in China during the cultural revolution. Despite the changes and restrictions put upon the people by the government, Little Leap has a very happy and carefree childhood. It is a beautifully written book.
Gwen
A quiet story about a boy's life in China during the Communist Cultural Revolution, enhanced by vivid watercolor illustrations. This is a tale of friendship, play, family and not-so-simple freedom.
Angie
May 07, 2010 Angie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: chilren able to read chapter books and lovers of children's books
Recommended to Angie by: Barefoot
A bittersweet story about a young Chinese boy who must learn some difficult life lessons much too soon. Delicately written and beautifully illustrated, this story will tug at your heart.
Lisa
This might make a great culture study of the life of children in (old) China around the time of the Cultural Revolution.
Melissa
A really simple, beautiful look at China around the time of the Cultural Revolution. I especially liked the author's note.
Karen
The artwork is beautiful, and I always appreciate a story more when it is based on actual experiences.
Alice Davidson
The pictures are what's worth it. The story is fine - it's a kid's book, The pictures...... classic.
Inge
I don't know how I can get kids to read this, but I wish they would.
A very pretty, bittersweet little book.
Heather
This is a simple story that says a lot about the life of a child in Chairman Mao's China.
Candi
Aug 17, 2008 Candi marked it as to-read
Shelves: books-for-kids
Ages 8-14
« previous 1 3 4 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
bookclub 1 3 Feb 23, 2010 01:57PM  
Music, Food And Love

Share This Book