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Little White Duck: A Childhood in China (Single Titles) Paperback – August 1, 2012
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About the Author
Andrés Vera Martínez was born in Lamesa, Texas, and was raised in Austin. He has created comics and illustrations for Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, CBS/Showtime, and the New York Times. His work has received awards and recognition from the Society of Illustrators, 3x3 Magazine, and American Illustration.
Na Liu and Andrés Vera Martínez live in Brooklyn, New York, with their daughter, Mei Lan. They take annual trips to visit their families in Wuhan and Austin.
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Top Customer Reviews
Told in eight short stories, the book follows Da Qin the middle class daughter of two parents, living in the late 1970s/early 80s. Through her eyes we see a number of small stories about growing up in a post-Mao China. There's the tale of how she and her younger sister attempted to emulate their nation's heroes by helping some thirsty chicks (to an unfortunate end, I'm afraid), or the one about having to bring in rat tails to prove she was great at pest control. There's the story of how Mao's death affected the nation, and useful facts about China during this era. Most impressive is the titular story about Da Qin and what happened to the white velvet duck on her jacket when she and her father visited the village where he was born. Honest, sometimes funny, and unusually touching, this glimpse into another life in another world rings distinctly true.
This book has been a reason for serious debate amongst the librarians of my system. Some wondered about the seemingly unconnected stories and whether or not they gelled properly.Read more ›
It wasn't something that Na wanted to do, but it was just going to be a day trip so she relented. Jia jia, her mother's mother, had bought her a beautifully soft green coat with a "little velvet duck" sewn onto the front. Mama didn't want her to take it to the village, but because it was her favorite she insisted and began to pout. "Aaall right! All right. Go ahead and take it." Baba and Na began their train journey through the mountains to Longquan. Baba's brothers welcomed him, but nai nai was frightening and mean. She went outside to see her cousins, but found they were very different. What was wrong with them and why were they interested in the little white duck?
This is an enchanting series of tales about Na Liu's childhood in post-Maoist China. The tales are vignettes of Na, or Da Qin's life, an ordinary life as she saw it. The pages, however, are filled with a history that is a bridge from a totalitarian-ruled country to the ever-evolving one we know today. In the short tales we get a glimpse at Chinese history that had been once hidden from the rest of the world, a history that was a part of her family.Read more ›
Little White Duck is filled with a lot of powerful moments, both touching and unsettling. It captures a child's sense of wonder and obliviousness, as well as the harshness of the realities of life creeping in. The snippets are interesting and evocative, wonderfully capturing a very different place and time. There is also great care taken to explain relevant customs and traditions, both in the comic and with the glossary and timeline in the back. What's here is very good.
But it's not quite enough. Deliberate pacing and the fact that there are eight largely unrelated tales makes this feel much shorter than its 100+ pages. In some ways it feel like things were just beginning when the book ended. I also wish there was more to each piece in the way of context. The back cover's description is more along the lines of what I wanted: "When their country's leader, Chairman Mao, dies, new opportunities begin to emerge. Da Qin and Xiao Qin soon learn that their childhood will be much different than the upbringing their parents experienced."
The implication seems to be a connection between those two quoted sentences, but it never really materializes. We see Da Qin experiencing the news of Mao's death, some pieces of her typical life as a child, and her seeing how different her father's hometown was, but none of it is connected here. The differences between her childhood and her parents' seem to be more class related and generational than tied to a new social order. In fact it's practically described in some sections as being a result of her parents' choices and hard work DURING Mao's time, not in the aftermath of his death.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Perfect. A good length for the price. The story is great, especially if you love to learn. Very nice artwork!Published 4 months ago by Elizabeth M Dickens
Awesome book. Gorgeous artwork. Poignant story. So grateful that Na Liu chose to tell her story. A true gift to the world (corny as that sounds...it's true).Published 7 months ago by Y.B.
This is a lovely story which I bought for my adopted Chinese granddaughter. It taught her
a little about China which she enjoyed and with which she identified, I think. Read more
This book is so inspirational I love it! If you like culture books than you will love this book, it is amazing!!!!Published 10 months ago by Leia Listou
Little White Duck is a collaboration between a wife/husband team Na Liu and Andres Vera Martinez where they portray Na Liu’s early childhood in Wuhan, China. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Shelli
In preparation for a trip to China, I read Little White Duck by Na Liu. This graphic novel is an actual account what life was like in China between 1976 and 1980 when China was... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Claire Annette Noland
OK, but it didn't have the impact I had expected with my students. From the write up I thought my middle school readers would be knocked out. Read morePublished 18 months ago by T. B. Godfrey