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Growing Up under a Red Flag: a Memoir of Surviving the Chinese Cultural Revolution

Publisher: Rocky Pond Books

Author: Ying Chang Compestine

Editor: Lauri Hornik
Designer: Sylvia Bi

A stirring and magnificently illustrated picture-book memoir of the author’s childhood during the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

Ying Chang Compestine was a young girl in 1966 when Mao launched his Cultural Revolution to reclaim power and eliminate non-communist values in the country. His army began punishing and arresting people who didn’t agree with him, foreign reading material was banned, and children were all required to dress in uniform and carry the Little Red Book of Mao’s teachings. It was a time of fear, mayhem, and scarcity that lasted until Mao’s death ten years later, when Ying was thirteen. Through those ten harrowing years, Ying’s parents found ways to secretly educate her and allow her dreams of visiting America to stay vibrant. Now she brings her childhood story and China’s history to life in this absorbing and beautiful picture book.

A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

Order here.

“The author uses simple, clear language to make complex political ideas more accessible to young audiences. Liu’s artwork helps add depth with nuanced facial expressions, thoughtful details, and eye-catching visual compositions. The vibrant palette and the style of the illustrations are fittingly reminiscent of vintage Chinese propaganda posters. A vivid glimpse into a childhood under communist rule.” —Kirkus Review

“Illustrating events in an appropriately Socialist Realist style, Liu depicts human figures standing and gesturing in broad, dramatic poses, with exaggerated expressions of fear or fervor to reflect the tenor of the moment, against backgrounds marked with revolutionary posters and otherexactly drawn details. An intense and account of life in an authoritarian regime, relevant to our times.” —Booklist Online, starred review

“Debut illustrator Ximmei Liu gives the ink and digitally colored artwork the feel of vintage Chinese art and design, strengthening an already gripping historical narrative.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review