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The Diary of Ma Yan: The Struggles and Hopes of a Chinese Schoolgirl

3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  446 ratings  ·  75 reviews
Wednesday, November 7

My father gave me and my brother a little money. My stomach is all twisted up with hunger, but I don't want to spend the money on anything as frivolous as food. Because it's money my parents earn with their sweat and blood.

I have to study well so that I won't ever again be tortured by hunger. . . .

In a drought-stricken corner of rural China, an educati
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published May 31st 2005 by HarperCollins (first published January 1st 2002)
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Community Reviews

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Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
For most in the first world it's hard to remember or even realise that for an enormous proportion of the world's children, even a basic education is a privilege--or indeed an impossible dream. Ma Yan's diary is a testament to this: given the most basic education in a school without even a library, she dreams of an "ideal" job in her future that will release her parents from grinding poverty and back-breaking labour.

The Communist training shows through in her constant self-criticism, making her
Kenneth Zhu
I decided to read this book because I thought this book will be interesting for me to read. Also, this book looks so attracting to me that I want to read it. I think this book will let me write a good review and use the time precisely without wasting the time and it will let me finish the book as soon as possible.
This book will fit the category of “A diary, autobiography or biography” because this book is a diary book. This book will tell us what is happening in their lifetime as they are living
Aug 15, 2008 Meg rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: WHINERS!
This is one of those cases where the story is AMAZING, the book itself is decent. Ma Yan's STORY is inspiring, heartbreaking, and in many ways unbelievable to us pampered ones. We just can't fathom surviving on a single bowl of rice a day, owning only one change of clothes, spending months at a time without parents while they travel far away in search of work, suffering merciless beatings at the hands of teachers, walking five hours to school (in the snow, of course), living in a one-room house ...more
I admire Ma Yan as a person so much. Through her true diary entries she reveals her dreams of making it through her education and getting a good career to get her family out of poverty. You can’t help but love and root for this girl! She has such determination, she’s constantly saying how she must continue to work harder and harder in her studies. She’s not the best in her class, but she has SUCH a strong work ethic.

Ma Yan is so selfless, she wants more than anything to ease the suffering of her
Jonathan H
I believe Ma Yan’s message in The Diary of Ma Yan is that education and a hard ethic work is the only way out of poverty and starvation. This novel takes place in the rural area of Ningxia China during the early 2000s. Ningxia is home to the Hui people, a minority in China. The Hui people are Chinese-Muslim opposed to the other religions in China. The Diary of Ma Yan is told through the eyes of the ambitious young schoolgirl, Ma Yan. Ma Yan’s family is extremely poor and don’t have regular meals ...more
Reading this in preparation for a regional summit in which my students are participating. The book is a little boring, but the issues it raises are good and will hopefully compel my students to appreciate their own eduction.
Viky S. Deneault
I read this book a long time ago. I remember that as a kid it took me a few attempts to read it fully, because it was quite repetitive and the fact that Ma Yan's dad burnt some pages upset me haha...
I feel like the story was really inspiring and motivational.
Knowing you won't suffer from hunger and will have a warm home at the end of the day... well it's not given to everyone. Through this extreme poverty, you can still see a young girl's dreams and hopes (which is heartbreaking). A lot of the
Anne Marshall
Heartbreaking and yet hopeful. Really well written and the results of her book sale are wonderful
The Diary of Ma Yan is the story of a Chinese schoolgirl who lives in rural China with her parents and her two brothers. Despite the family's crippling poverty and her mother's terrible illness, Ma Yan never loses hope and finds courage in everyday moments. This diary is written in a very touching, heartfelt voice and a child's tone of voice, yet it succeeds in conveying how much living in poverty has forced Ma Yan to grow up quickly and take her responsibilities very seriously. This novel defin ...more
The Diary of Ma Yan is a very insightful, beautiful read. Fighting against hunger and poverty, along with traditional mindsets and the discouraging opinions of family members, Ma Yan successfully rises above her adversity to achieve her dream of furthering her education and providing for her family.

However, now, we need to take this with a grain of salt.

According to those running the organization for the children of Ningxia, China has changed since this book was published. Though Ma Yan became a
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I read this book years ago and its memory hasn't left me since then.
I discovered it while looking for Anne Frank's diary, the librarian told me she thought I was too young to read it and advised me to read The Diary of Ma Yan instead. Why? I still don't know, because apart from being both diaries, there is nothing more in common between these two books.

When reading it, I felt Ma Yan's life was revolting. How could she be treated thus? How could the people surrounding her think this situation no
The Diary of Ma Yan, by Ma Yan and Pierre Haski, is the story of a teenage girl living in a remote area of China. Her diaries were given to a French journalist as he traveled through her remote village in northern China. In her journal, which was translated from its original Mandarin, into French, and later English, Yan tells of her quest for an education. Her Muslim family is desperately poor and raising the funds to attend school requires extreme sacrifice for her parents. If Ma Yan quits sch ...more
WHAT THE BOOK WAS ABOUT: It was Ma Yan's diary so it was pretty much just about her life. Several times she was concerned she wouldn't be able to ever go to school again, several times she's starving of hunger, and her mother is sick. The book is really cool and it's really neat how it teaches you a lot about China.
WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THE BOOK: I liked that it was real and how it taught me about China, mostly Chinese currency. The publishers also stopped the diary every once in a while to explain
Harun Harahap
Buku Harian Ma Yan ini ditulis oleh Pierre Haski..Pierre Haski menerima buku ni dari Bai Juhua, Ibunda Ma Yan, saat ia mengunjungi ningxia..

buku ini tentang perjuangan Keluarga Ma Yan..untuk bertahan hidup dan melanjutkan sekolah..merka sangatlah miskin namun mereka mempunyai keyakinan kalau pendidikan adalah sesuatu hal yang sangat penting..maka berkat kerja keras sang ayah, Ma Dongshi, dan ibunya, Bai Juhua..Ma yan bisa terus bersekolah..mereka mencari Fa Cai..dengan cara ilegal dan mesti perg
Jun 10, 2013 Sara rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: diari
Breve, ma toccante, con tanto di risvolto finale lieto e in bocca al lupo per il tuo futuro, Ma Yan. Il diario la segue per un breve periodo, ma rende perfettamente l'idea della povertà, delle condizioni di vita a casa e a scuola e dei rapporti familiari e sociali. Domina un gran senso del dovere ed un profondo rispetto nei confronti dei genitori, la madre in particolare. Verso di lei Ma Yan prova un affetto struggente, la pensa in continuazione e desidererebbe con tutto il cuore ricevere un com ...more
I read this book a year or so ago, and then just read it with my two 9-year-old children. The book is a combination of diary entries by a young teenage girl in rural China and commentary by the man who was entrusted with the diaries. She works extremely hard to go to school--and her mother sacrifices a great deal in order to pay her school fees.

My kids are fascinated by Ma Yan's life, which could not be more different than theirs. They find it hard to believe that someone can be so poor, can go
Sophie Zapoli
This book was an inspiring and eye-opening testimony to the importance of an education that brings the statistics, testing, and proven facts about the benefits of education to life on a level of intimacy with Ma Yan, just one representative of so many who suffer as she does just to learn. The Diary of Ma Yan is a story that isn't just to be enjoyed, it's a story that teaches and makes us rethink each time someone wants to complain about going to school or being "hungry" ever again. The luxuries ...more
Linnea McGowan
Miss Heather suggested I read this book because she loved it... but I must admit that it didn't touch me the same way.

I can see how this would be very powerful for people who have not been exposed to it, but sadly, I have been. I am very familiar with the give and take of the Chinese parents and students, and how much pressure the students put of themselves to be the best. I am very familiar with telling my former students that I'm so proud of how much they have been learning, that the grade do
Dina P.
Buku ini bercerita tentang kisah nyata Ma Yan, seorang anak perempuan petani penggarap yang sangat miskin di sebuah desa yang juga sangat miskin di pelosok Cina. Dan di Cina yang budaya patriarkinya masih tinggi, Ma Yan yang merupakan anak perempuan satu-satunya harus terus-menerus dihantui ancaman berhenti sekolah karena biayanya terlalu tinggi.

Tapi Ma Yan dan orang tuanya, terutama ibunya, tidak pernah menyerah. Mereka terus bekerja keras di ladang sampai berminggu-minggu demi mendapatkan uang
Rana Ansari
While fiction is fabricated from beginning to end, and nonfiction is generally sensationalized, this is the raw and unedited diary of a thirteen year old Chinese girl revealing her constant struggle to get an education despite the minimal resources, harsh conditions, and grinding poverty. Her everyday life no matter how sad and trying, her inscribes in the diary are invariably filled with hope, zeal, and determination.

Like I already mentioned, it was a very interesting book to read. On the one hand it made me feel guilty for all the wealth we have and usually take for granted. It was also nice to learn how things work in the Chinese rural community. I was often very moved by the despair that Ma Yan so obviously felt.

I was a bit annoyed by the constant repetition of 'I have to study hard to get a better life and make my mother's life better' or words like these. It almo
This book is about Ma Yan, a Chinese girl who struggles through poverty with her family and she never gives up. She faces sadness, happiness, and sometimes desperate times. She tries to improve on her education so she can go to University and find a better job. She wants to help her family with a better living.

I can relate this book to many books I have read. But one particular book I remember is Esperanza rising. Esperanza learns the hard work of many others in the fields, and she learns that
This book was kind of interesting, but not enough to go and read it by yourself, just for fun. I had to read this for school and it gets pretty boring. She is a Chinese girl who doesn't have enough money for school, but all she wants to do is study.
She writes journals every day, the pen bought by her starving herself for a week, just so she could write. Her mom is really hard on her because when she can afford school Ma Yan isn't doing well enough in school. [She didn't get first in her class,
Mar 19, 2008 Carol rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: ya
It's a tough life for a Chinese schoolgirl from a peasant family in the early 21st century. She really wants to finish school, partly because she wants a better life for herself, and also because she wants her parents to not have to work so hard. Just getting to school and back is more difficult than an American kid can imagine. They have to walk for hours each way. Also, the school doesn't provide food unless you pay extra. Yan had to make do with a bowl of rice a day. The teachers had no hesit ...more
Apr 03, 2008 Suki rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
This book is about Ma Yan, a Chinese girl who struggles through poverty with her family and she never gives up. She goes through hardships, faces sadness, happiness, hopeless, and sometimes desperate. She uses all her efforts and tries to improve on education so she can go to University and find a better job. She wants to give a better living to her family who is always willingly to sacriface everything to earn money for her school fees. It is a chance for a better future. This book sounds like ...more
The perfect book to show how important education is: that a girl would fight so hard for herself, her family, and against fate! What a beautiful story.
Aaron Riley
We read it in my 8th grade Social Studies class earlier this year. I thought it was a wonderful book, and after reading it I appreciate how I have it good! 5 stars!
I mostly like what happened as a result of the diary getting published. I'm not really into diary style books.
След като си прочел тази книга ,след като си усетил страданието на тези хора ,се чувстваш хиляди пъти по-благодарен за това което имаш...!!!
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Ma Yan was a teenager, thirteen and fourteen, from Ningxia, China, when she wrote these diary entries. At sixteen, Ma Yan hoped to attend a university: "I want to study journalism," she said. "My purpose is to keep the whole world informed, to report the poverty and real life in this area."
More about Ma Yan...
The Diary of Ma Yan The Diary of Ma Yan The Diary of Ma Yan The Diary of Ma Yan

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