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A Girl Named Faithful Plum: The True Story of a Dancer from China and How She Achieved Her Dream Hardcover – September 13, 2011


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 1080L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (September 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780375869600
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375869600
  • ASIN: 0375869603
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,844,086 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"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" -- School Library Journal

"The narrative...is packed with cultural information....Inspiring for would-be dancers, Zhongmei Li's gritty success story is also a revealing window into post-Mao China" -- Booklist

"A Girl Named Faithful Plum is rich with genuine heart, inspiring readers as well as making them consider what it takes to achieve true greatness"--New York Times,  Dec. 18, 2001

Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2011:
"A fascinating and memorable account of a life and times difficult to imagine today."

Booklist, September 15, 2011:
Leaving her poor, remote village in 1978, 11-year-old Zhongmei Li traveled an arduous three-day journey to audition for the Beijing Dance Academy. At the end of the highly competitive seven-stage competition, despite her rural background and lack of connections, she was one of the few girls selected. At the academy, a rigid dormitory supervisor and hostile teacher make life miserable for the young student, but the resolute Zhongmei survives the eight-year training and becomes a successful dancer. Written by her U.S. husband, this biography follows the steely, determined dancer through many adversities up to her academy graduation. Although the narrative is occasionally overly descriptive, it is packed with cultural information. It explains, for example, how a list of names is organized for posting, as there is no alphabetical order in Chinese. Inspiring for would-be dancers, Zhongmei Li’s gritty success story is also a revealing window into post-Mao China. — Linda Perkins

About the Author

Growing up in the small town of East Haddam, Connecticut, RICHARD BERNSTEIN always dreamed of seeing the world, and after he finished university he figured a great way to do that would be to become a newspaper reporter. So he became a foreign correspondent for Time Magazine and then the New York Times, which sent him all expenses paid!) to lots of countries, including Hong Kong, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, France, Germany, Poland, South Africa, Mozambique, and about 20 others. Along the way, he wrote thousands of newspaper articles and seven books, mostly for grownups. A Girl Named Faithful Plum is his first book for young readers, but he's sure it won't be his last. After moving around for most of his life, Richard settled in Brooklyn, New York, where he lives with his wife, Zhongmei (who is Faithful Plum!), his son, Elias, and their cat, Lucky.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 14 customer reviews
Just had no clue how much I was going to enjoy this book!
R Knight
A wonderfully written true story that gives the reader a tiny glimpse of life in China in the late 70's and the struggles to become a world class ballerina.
Lynne Powell
This is a fantastic book for kids in middle school, and I enjoyed reading it as well.
Hannah Z.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pauline on November 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
A fascinating and engaging story of a young girl's determination to follow her dream and the strength of will it took to get her there.
At the end of the book, my only wish was that the story continued...
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By Lee on March 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Engaging and fast paced. Our kid read this very quickly because the story was so absorbing. Kids interested in dance may particularly find this story compelling.
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By Amazon Customer on March 11, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love this book. It was amazing. I would Definately read this book al over again, Shen I get the chance
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By R Knight on January 27, 2013
Format: Library Binding
I checked this book out from my daughter's school library, the cover was so beautiful I couldn't resist. Also the fact that it was a non-fiction chapter book for kids intrigued me. Just had no clue how much I was going to enjoy this book! The story of this woman's life as a young child in rural China alone was worth my time. Her determination when she was so young inspired me. RK Everett, WA
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The real life of this amazing dancer who had to fight discrimination, poverty, solitude to achieve a dream. Giving up wasn't an answer.
After you finish, you'll agree that she sounds like a beautiful person.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic book for kids in middle school, and I enjoyed reading it as well. I highly recommend it, even for boys.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a beautiful story and what a great writing style for telling it!
I read this book in two days, as I just could not stop. The story of Zhongmei is inspiring and moving. It sets an example of how talent and especially will can take you to achieve your goals, no matter the how high you are aiming at and the many obstacles life is disseminated with.
But it also sets an example of how the struggle for your goals does not forcely turn you in a cold hearted person.
I will present this book as a gift to the persons I love most.
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