The Newbery Award and Honor Book Club discussion

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Realistic Fiction > Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze

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message 1: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl | 13 comments Fascinating book as Elizabeth Foreman Lewis describes life in China in the 1920's. The culture described was fascinating. I loved how she brought the foreshadowing of communism into the work and helped me to understand what led China towards that choice in government.

Young Fu is an endearing character who battles the "dragons" of his life and his culture...a life lesson for all youth about facing the trials that they face (and all of us face) with courage and tenacity. The great life message in the book is found in the chapter entitled "A River on the Rampage." Young Fu ponders the outcomes of the flood:

"...For one household, at least, the Dragon had been forced to admit defeat. Dragons! He sniffed to himself. After all it simply a matter of keeping one's head and outwitting them."


message 2: by Adelina (new)

Adelina | 37 comments my brains a bit tired, but I Loved this book. I really felt for Young Fu as he learns different life lessons.


message 3: by Nikki (new)

Nikki (nikkiivie) I thought this book was enjoyable to read and interesting, as well. The historical context was fascinating to learn about...the dawn of communist China.

I laughed several times when I read '...she was only a woman' and I appreciated the author's historically ACCURATE portrayal of Young Fu's perception of women. I also appreciated her addressing such topics as the opium trade and the torture of prisoners.

I thought one of the underlying themes was questioning the long-standing superstitions of one's culture. Young Fu was willing to question the beliefs of his mother (and others) and ended up learning valuable lessons.

The thing I most appreciated about this book was the lessons that were learned by Young Fu (i.e. financial responsibility, respect for one's employer, avoiding destructive habits such as gambling, working for a long time to achieve a goal). This is the type of book that I would love for my children to read, because I appreciate the underlying principles that are taught!


message 4: by Adelina (last edited Aug 24, 2009 07:36AM) (new)

Adelina | 37 comments everything Nikki said! Between the history of china and the principles taught, this book is just amazing. My favorite part of the book was when Young Fu confessed to his mother that he lost all the money playing dominoes. I think it was the main turning point in his character.


message 5: by Joy (new)

Joy | 217 comments I was surprised at how interesting this book actually was. When I first started, I did not think I would like it but I warmed up to it quickly. Young Fu was definitely an interesting character. I was also quite interested in Tang, the benevolent master. It was interesting how he was more worried about Fu's idleness with errands than with the damaged piece of merchandise. I was glad that the author was able to go around to all the different workers in the shop and give them each a bit of story.


message 6: by Phil (new)

Phil Jensen | 174 comments That's encouraging. I'm planning to read this one soon, and I'm a little nervous about it. Some of the older Newberry's are pretty bad.


message 7: by Desiree', Teacher n Training (new)

Desiree' (sequoia01) | 296 comments Mod
Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze is written by Elizabeth Foreman Lewis and is the Newbery Medal, 1933.


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The Newbery Award and Honor Book Club

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Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze (other topics)

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Elizabeth Foreman Lewis (other topics)