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Red Scarf Girl

3.66  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,158 Ratings  ·  1,152 Reviews
"Ji-li's deeply moving story should be on the shelf of every person's library. Her courage in the face of adversity and her steadfast loyalty to her family are truly inspirational for young and old alike." --Nien Cheng (Author of A Life and Death in Shanghai)
Paperback, 285 pages
Published 1999 by HarperTrophy (first published 1997)
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Yu Ji-Li characterise her childhood before her twelfth birthday as happy, just like the meaning of her name Ji-Li (lucky and beautiful), because her…moreJi-Li characterise her childhood before her twelfth birthday as happy, just like the meaning of her name Ji-Li (lucky and beautiful), because her parents and paternal grandmother expected her to be a happy girl. Its a quiet sad story, but its true. 'Black' class people were treated the same way during the Cultural Revolution in China.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jul 27, 2008 Michelle rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Those interested in China's Cultural Revolution
What to say about this...sometimes I have to resist the urge to review every book that I read. Then I think about the fact that I didn't review it, and I think, "Oh, just review it. Say something. Say anything." Not that people are just waiting to read what I and everyone else thought of it, but I feel that I should at least say something about it. After all, people do search for books to read and all the reviews pop up underneath them, so if they are interested enough to click on this book, the ...more
Sep 12, 2008 Natasha rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who cares about freedom
Recommended to Natasha by: LEMI
Shelves: history, young-adult
A revealing tale of how people will gradually allow more and more of their freedoms to be taken away when they are pitted one against another. That was Mao's genius--keep the masses in constant revolt between classes.

Mao was so revered that, as a youth, the author questioned her parents rather than the establishment. Her response to the difficult choice forced upon her (to choose her family or the party) is a powerful lesson. A well written book for her intended audience (youth).

My daughter re
Aug 26, 2016 Fabian rated it really liked it
Terror seen through the eyes of a twelve year old, this is a memoir of the Cultural Revolution as much as a truly harrowing horror story where relatives and friends betrayed each other for no reason. The zombification of the Chinese under Mao's rule is distinctively awful, a mindset and time that must never be repeated (but under Trump's potential presidency, possibly might).
Jan 26, 2015 Petra rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I've only read a few books that center on the Cultural Revolution in China. This one is different in that it's a memoir and focusses very specifically on 2 years of young girl's life when she's 12-14 years old; very impressionable and insecure years for many girls, under normal situations.
Mao's Cultural Revolution was mayhem, from what I've gathered from the few books I've read. People denouncing neighbours, people being wary & afraid of speaking out, people being pronounced "black" (not wi
Dec 01, 2007 Meagan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who's interested in China's cultural revolution
Many Americans, myself included, have an opinion about China, Communism, or most likely both. What most of us have neglected to do is explore how valid our opinions are. Ji-Li Jiang's memoir was written for children, and because she is a teacher her book is very accessible for most elementary school-age kids. It's no less interesting or valuable for adults, though, simply because we are not her intended audience. Red Scarf Girl brings us with Ji-Li as she grows up in the height of China's cultur ...more
This book is powerful for me because it happened to a girl my age who was born in China. I wonder if I could have been as strong as she was. Chairman Mao had them all fooled, and I wonder when (not if) it will happen again. I read "The Children's Story, " by James Michner to my class to start this book. It seems real to me and them. Who now would give up his or her summer to work for the country? Who would stay up all day and night to work on a project for shcool? Who would walk right by his gra ...more
Nov 15, 2008 bjneary rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: YA
Shelves: biography, history, ya
Ji-li Jiang writes of a terrible time the history of China and in her life. Everyone was so enamored and "brainwashed" by Mao's greatness that the Chinese began to change the way they thought, dressed, acted and were educated----and if they didn't, they were seen as Four Olds to be humiliated in front of family and friends by teen guards that had become revolutionized to do Mao's good work. Her family went from a success story to being blamed for a grandfather being a landlord which was consider ...more
Dec 11, 2008 J rated it really liked it
Very informational. I have such a love and fascination for Chinese history, that I really enjoyed it. I kept thinking, wow, we are so close to this in the US! I hope I've prepared my children to stand up for their heritage!
May 08, 2011 Cherylann rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs, ya
At times it was hard to remember that this book is a memoir and the horrific acts I was reading about not only really happened, but they happened to a young girl. While I've read better writing, the story was so powerful it was able to transcend my feelings about the prose. When I started the book, I knew nothing about the Cultural Revolution in China, so I had no idea what to expect. Having finished the book, I can make comparisons to the Cultural Revolution in Iran, as in Persepolis, and the H ...more
I gave Ji-li Jiang's memoir of her life, Red-Scarf Girl:A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution four stars (really liked it) because of the way her story was told. This book is intended for readers in grades 5-9, which is quite a span, but I would say it is most approriate for grades 7-9. Jiang lets readers in on her life, and allows them to experience how she changes from a girl that was proud to be a product of her country to a young woman who comes to question everything she believes. I found it ...more
Jul 04, 2015 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Where I got the book: purchased on Kindle. This was read for my daughter’s Book Wizards group (composed of cognitively disabled adults) and I actually borrowed her Kindle Fire so I could experience Whispersync immersion reading, where you hear the audiobook narration and the ebook follows along. I found the process a bit slow, as I clearly read much faster than the narrator, but it was kind of relaxing and it did focus my mind on the book. I read much of it in the plane, and found listening thro ...more
Tareq Fares
ليست رواية بمعنى الرواية بل سرد للأحداث التي عاشتها الكاتبة في أيام الثورة الثقافية في الصين وما وقع عليها من ظلم هي وعائلتها بسبب كون جدها كان صاحب أملاك.

السرد للحكاية ممتاز ولكني وجدت مشكلة في متابعة أسماء الشخصيات لكونها تتكون من ثلاثة أجزاء معظمها متشابه.

يمكن ربط الأحداث مع أي تغير ثقافي يحدث في أي مجتمع بدعم سياسي (بالقوة) فتظهر مع تلك القوة فئة تفرض ثقافتها على باقي افراد المجتمع والأخطر هو ظهور فئة لا هم لها الا البحث عن مخالف لمضايقته باي وسيلة يملكها حتى يثبت انه المؤمن الوحيد بالفكر ا
Jul 10, 2015 Allisonlcarter rated it really liked it
What I like about this book is that it keeps us very tightly confined to the story of pre-teen Ji-li. This does not try to explain the larger context of the Cultural Revolution; it does not try to make us understand what was happening in Beijing. And that makes her story all the more terrifying. Just as history is difficult to understand when we are caught in its tides, following Ji-li we only know that the world is changing in ways big and small, that the world is growing colder and more fright ...more
Ji-Li Jiang is part of that 'Lost Generation' who had to endure the Cultural Revolution in China. Barely a teenager when it all started she remembers, of course, all the details we now know were the lot of ordinary people under such a socialist dictatorship (the vile propaganda, the brutal zeal of the Red Guards, the violence of a society where individuals turn against each other and, the uncertainties of what constitutes a revolutionary attitude or an anti-revolutionary one). What makes her tes ...more
May 20, 2015 Matt rated it really liked it
Scarf Girl, by Ji-Li Jiang, is about a girl living in the 1960’s during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. The story starts off with Ji-Li’s “perfect” life in communist China, and she lands an audition for the Liberation Army Dancer. When she comes home to announce the amazing news to her mother and family, she realizes that her family isn’t perfect, but her country is worse. Through the story, more and more corruption comes into China, and more propaganda is pushed onto Ji-Li and her fellow clas ...more
Morgan Echtenkamp
The cover of this book did not draw me in, but it came with a great recommendation from a friend/our school librarian. I really enjoyed every page of it! I also learned so much about China under communist rule that I did not know anything about. It is a true story about the author's life in China from the ages of 12 to 14. I would highly recommend this book to any of my students. It was a quick, enjoyable, and informative read!
Darion Williams
This book was about a girl that was scared of new people because she thought she was gonna get taken away. I liked this book because It was suspenseful and action packed. I recommend this book to Yuliana because its a really good book.
Oct 07, 2014 Rose rated it liked it
This was an interesting book from a historical perspective, as It gave a lot of insight into what it was like to live during the cultural revolution. Towards the beginning of the book I was able to connect with all the characters, and their emotions were very real. As the book progressed, however, It began to frustrate me how ignorant the characters were. I get that this was to show how brain-washed the characters were, but it began to become unbelievable and unrealistic, turning an insightful a ...more
The Book Queen
Aug 29, 2015 The Book Queen rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Often interesting, frequently sickening, always heart-breaking and inspiring. Longer review (possibly) to come.
Jun 28, 2016 Pamela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Living under Mao

What a powerful story this memoir is! Told simply, it portrays the twelfth to fourteenth years of its author as she struggles to hold onto her humanity. To be true to the principles of the revolution she was a part of, she would be asked to deny her family affiliation. She refused, and suffered as she watched their suffering for their "crimes" against the state.
Ironically, it is not a bitter story. It is the story of a bright, talented young woman who later left China, with it
Dec 16, 2008 Matthew rated it liked it
This is a great book about the Cultural Revolution.
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Feb 29, 2012 Jennifer rated it really liked it
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Apr 10, 2012 Amy rated it it was amazing
I first read this book in middle school because it was on the Battle of the Books reading list. Prior to reading the book, I thought the Cultural Revolution referred to some clothing movement (sadly this is also a common misconception amongst Chinese youth). I devoured the book. Keep in mind that this really is a young adult novel and not as deep as most other books about individuals or families living through the Cultural Revolution. The author was a young teenager at the start of the movement ...more
Ange Batie
Dec 03, 2013 Ange Batie rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oh my goodness, this book touched my heart. My daughter is reading it for a history course she is taking this year called Key of Liberty. I always pre-read any books my daughters are assigned as part of a course. I had never heard of this book or Ji Li Jiang. But I am SO glad I have read it now. I knew surface stories about the Chinese Cultural Revolution, but had never studied it. This book made me cry. I cried for Ji Li, I cried for the Jiang family, I cried for the children & families put ...more
Jun 23, 2011 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, nonfiction
I would give this book three and a half stars if Goodreads would allow it. I found this book to be very enlightening. I don't know very much about the so-called Cultural Revolution in China's not-so-distant past. Ji-Li Jiang gives the reader a heartrending insider view of the localized and very personal impact and hardship imposed on the people of China by the Great and Supreme Tyrant Mao Zedong and his collaborators. I cringed while reading the book to see how easily neighbors turned against ea ...more
Nov 28, 2010 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: other-asia, memoir
A great memoir from a child's p.o.v. on living through the cultural revolution. Everything I know about the Cultural Revolution I learned from books like this. My lame Seymour High School education never even touched on Mao Ze-Dong, China, Asia, or any other culure aside from our young American culture and a small portion of Europe's, and only then when it had anything to do with our own. I am completely self-taught on all (important) things historical that were not quickly and poorly glossed ov ...more
Jan 16, 2016 Hannah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
I read this years ago. I'd studied some about the Cultural Revolution in school, and this was a book we followed it up with. It was a fascinating read about what happened during the Communist takeover, even to one who had been a committed member of the Communist party. Chilling, too; especially since the time is largely forgotten now. And you know the famous quote about being doomed to repeat the history we forget....
Mar 02, 2014 Marie rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids
My kids were totally drawn into this book and loved hearing it, even as they hated the injustices it described. History through the eyes of children and adolescents who experienced the events is such a powerful way of learning. My only concern was that it seemed fine for kids as young as 8 EXCEPT for one or two scenes where suicide is described in graphic terms. We could have done without those few words and been just as deeply moved.
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LDS Ladies Book Club: * Red Scarf Girl by Ji-li Jiang 8 17 Aug 01, 2016 03:56PM  
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Coming from Shanghai, China in 1984, where she used to be a school science teacher, author Ji-li Jiang studied in Hawaii then worked as a corporate Operations Analyst and Budgeting Director for several years. In 1992, she co-founded East West Exchange, Inc, a company created to promote and facilitate cultural and business exchanges between China and the western countries.

Ji-li’s first book, Red Sc
More about Ji-li Jiang...

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“Her actions remind me that, even under unbearable circumstances, one can still believe in justice. And above all, love.” 2 likes
“I was willing to take on the struggle to establish myself in a new country because I knew that was the price I would have to pay for the freedom to think, speak, and write whatever I pleased.” 1 likes
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