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A Girl Named Faithful Plum
ISBN: 9780375969607
Author: Bernstein, Richard
Publisher: Alfred a Knopf Inc
Published: September 2011
Retail: $18.99    OUR PRICE: $2.99
     You Save 84%
Binding Type: Hardcover
Annotation: A first children's book by the author of The East, The West, and Sex follows the childhood story of his wife, Zhongmei Lei, who won a coveted spot in the Beijing Dance Academy at the age of 11, despite the lack of connections, and rose to fame before founding her own dance company.
Additional Information
Target Grade: 7-9
Grade level: 7-9
Physical Information: 1.00" H x 100.00" L x 6.00" W
Bargain Category: Middle School, High School, Biographies, Art/Music
Grade level(s): 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Spring)
This narrative biography of Chinese ballerina Li Zhongmei (written by her husband) follows her difficult childhood journey in 1978 to audition for the Beijing Dance Academy and her first year at the school. Bernstein emphasizes young Zhongmei's persistence against frequently overwhelming odds and her passion for her art. Aspiring dancers will be inspired by Zhongmei's story. An eight-page color insert is included.
Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2011 November)

Gr 5 Up—In 1978, 11-year-old Li Zhongmei traveled for three days and two nights from her remote town on the Chinese-Soviet Union border to Beijing to audition for the Beijing Dance Academy. Despite her lack of connections, she was one of a dozen girls chosen from more than 60,000 applicants. In addition to the rigorous curriculum, she faced ridicule from her urbane classmates and teachers for being a "country bumpkin," and initially was unable to take the required Fundamentals of Ballet class. Despite many hardships, Zhongmei became one of China's most famous ballet dancers. Written by her husband, the book reads more like a novel than a biography; it's full of re-created dialogue, letters, and visual detail. The vivid descriptions bring China in the post-Cultural Revolution, pre-Tiananmen Square era to life. While the book does not discuss present-day China, it mentions that the country was extremely poor at the time and that living conditions are different today. Unlike Li Cunxin's Mao's Last Dancer (Walker, 2008), this volume focuses less on politics and more on Zhongmei's struggles to succeed as a dancer. Readers of ballet stories and biographies, such as Siena Cherson Siegel's To Dance (S & S/Atheneum, 2006), will enjoy seeing how Chinese ballet differs from Western styles and appreciate Zhongmei's long hours of hard work and practice.—Jennifer Rothschild, Prince George's County Memorial Library System, Oxon Hill, MD

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