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Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze Paperback – April 29, 2008
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“It is a story full of adventure that I believe you will enjoy as much as I did. Young Fu won the Newbery Medal, not only because it was historically and culturally accurate, but because it was and is a really good read.” ―Katherine Paterson, Newbery Award-winning author of Bridge to Terabithia and Jacob Have I Loved
From the Publisher
Introduction by Pearl S. Buck. This "accurate, vivid and well-written story" (The New York Times ) is about Young Fu, a country boy, who is apprenticed to a master coppersmith when he and his mother move to the city of Chungking during the exciting and often dangerous 1920s.
A Newbery Medal Book. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
I often read this book with my sixth grade class. The author is Western (she left America for a career as a teacher and missionary in Shanghai, Chungking, and Nanking) and sometimes this bias shows through, as does her distaste for rabble-rousing young revolutionaries (early communists?), though perhaps her sentiments would be shared by many modern Chinese.
Still, the book makes fascinating reading. It introduces the reader to a China that has passed into history (thank goodness - it was such a violent time), yet many authentic cultural ideas and customs that are presented in the book persist, such as payment of debts on New Years, crooked streets catching ghosts, etc. There are even a few Chinese expressions. Some are translated into English (like FangXin - let down your heart) and others are kept in Chinese, such as Tuchun (a military governor).
The book is well-written, though quite episodic. This episodic nature can be an advantage, though, since it may be possible to shorten the book when presenting it to a class by skipping some chapters.
Also, in the back of the book is an appendix, keyed to the chapters, that explains some differences between the China of today and the China of the 1920's.
The characters are well drawn. Although there is little character development outside the main character, Young Fu does have to deal with a lot of the issues confronting a young man growing up. His adventurous spirit and willingness to embrace new ideas are contrasted with the attitudes of others around him. This openness to change (and to Western ideas, such as Western medicine)usually lead to his successes.
Some of the main issues dealt with in this book are: superstitions, the value of education, the roles of foreigners in the China of that time, the value of education, the effect of war and politics on a large, though backwater, town, as well as friendship and family.
This book is probably appropriate for very high fifth grade through ninth grade. It makes excellent material for a sixth grade class, but they may some guidance or orientation, because the life depicted is so different from our own.
The illustrations help when explaining ideas such as "Wedding Chair" or "Load-pole."
Most recent customer reviews
I first read Young Fu nearly twenty years ago, and it has been one of my favourite books ever since.Read more
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