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Teaching about China

Laowai in the Central Kingdom
The list author says: "Hold class DEBATES & show your students a China few Westerners have seen.
Since the general public rarely moves past the usual images of China presented by the media, there is a huge gap between what specialists understand & the general public believes. American debate about China is not only as highly polarized as the right and left, but also tends to be stereotypical and based on ignorance & popular perceptions of the "other" which leads to distorted & potentially dangerous misunderstandings of China.
When your students come to the realization that China & it's new leaders face daunting problems, they may be surprised about how often China's problems are also OUR problems from environmental degradation to unemployment.
Emphasize these similarities with a focus on globalization.
Teach students to question media sources, political representation & policy choice behind the headlines or soundbites.
What role do scholars play in their production & interpretation of China?
Now that contact between the US & China is at a breadth & depth never achieved before & the exchange of people & ideas is significant, there are fewer & fewer excuses for American students (or their teachers) to be ignorant about China.
Chinese & American societies share a sense of exceptionalism than can be the basis of cooperation & confusion.
China is a tricky country to teach about simply because of it's dynamic & rapid change, having gone from an isolated nation to a land that welcomes tourism in a relative blink of an eye. It is a challenge to keep up-to-date with China's changes. Beware of out-of-date books about China & of books with biased & uninformed political slants.
Below are some books that may help.
Note: I included books from my favorite series, Opposing Viewpoints, a long-running, award-winning series that most HS libraries will have several editions of but they are a bit more expensive. You can usually find older but much cheaper copies from used booksellers."
China's Transformations: The Stories beyond the Headlines
China's Transformations: The Stories beyond the Headlines
"Published 2007, 378 pages The contributors vividly portray the complexity of life in contemporary China and how surprisingly often it speaks to the American experience.  Gets readers to think about shared problems; environmental degradation, nationalism, unemployment, film and literature, news reporting, the Internet, sex tourism, and the costs of the economic boom. ISBN: 074253863X"
China beyond the Headlines
China beyond the Headlines
"2000 Authors in turn discuss some facet of China & how it is faring under the stress of modernization presenting the reader with the realization that whatever China's goals; energy needs, environmental degradation, new identities or a growing gap between rich & poor (class stratification and a serious rural-urban divide) may be more than speed bumps on the road to modernization. ISBN: 0847698556"
China (Opposing Viewpoints)
China (Opposing Viewpoints)
"Published 2010 Grades 10 - 12 Collection of well-chosen excerpts clearly expresses opposing opinions.  Informative, many-sided, well-balanced, & THE BEST material for well-informed classroom debates!  Older editions are not necessarily dated just with different excerpts/experts & may cover different angles on debate about China. Earlier Editions; 2008: ISBN: 073773390X 2001: ISBN: 073770649X"
Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China
Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China
"-130 million- Chinese migrant workers, the largest migration in history   Follows the hardships & heartbreaks of two teenage factory girls who 'were prey to all sorts of cons, making life decisions on the barest bits of information,' in China's lawless free-for-all boomtowns.  They also reinvent themselves, feeling freed from a suffocating web of traditional habits & mores. ISBN: 0385520174"
Golden Arches East: McDonald's in East Asia, Second Edition
Golden Arches East: McDonald's in East Asia, Second Edition
"2006 Many Asians have ceased to consider the American hamburger chain "foreign" at all. McDonald's quickly assimilates to the culture of the countries where it operates with it's localization strategy even as it contributes to modernizing changes.  An academic study rather than a text for HS students or younger, but a poignant globalization subject to introduce & discuss.  ISBN: 0804749892"
Global Studies: China
Global Studies: China
"Published 2009 Introductory but not geared for young adults (apparently-?) 224 Pages From a global studies series, provides background with selected world press articles, includes an annotated listing of websites & is supported by an online Instructor's Resource Guide, www.mchls.com ISBN: 0073379875"
Population (Opposing Viewpoints)
Population (Opposing Viewpoints)
"Coming out Sept, 2011 Central to understanding China is understanding the global issue of overpopulation & population control.  Will introduce diverse viewpoints about population control controversies including China's One-Child Policy. ISBN: 0737757566 Also check out older editions (different articles/different authors):  2005: ISBN: 073772952X 1995: ISBN: 1565102142"
Population 1.3 Billion: China Becomes a Super Superpower (24/7: Behind the Headlines Special Editions)
Population 1.3 Billion: China Becomes a Super Superpower (24/7: Behind the Headlines Special Editions)
"For ages 9 - 12, 64 pages, Scholastic; Special edition published March 2009 ISBN: 0531220028"
National Geographic Countries of the World: China
National Geographic Countries of the World: China
"Ages 9 - 12 Published in 2009, 64 pages Through highly visual elements, focuses on geography, people and culture, history, government and economy, and nature; utilizes charts, tables, time lines, full-page maps that highlight physical features, vegetation and ecosystems, history, population, and political organization. ISBN: 1426305699"
National Geographic Atlas of China
National Geographic Atlas of China
"Published 2007, 128 pages Thematic maps on trade, energy, natural resources, population, military strength, religion, languages, tourism, transportation, and more. New satellite imagery—at the highest resolution ever published by National Geographic, a historical timeline, commentaries, graphs, travel info, and photos complete the thorough coverage of today's China. ISBN: 1426201362"
The Provinces & Cities of China
The Provinces & Cities of China
"Ages 9 - 12 Published: 2000 ISBN: 1559163208"
Eastern and Western Daily Culture: Intercultural Communication in China
Eastern and Western Daily Culture: Intercultural Communication in China
"Published 2007 Knowledge about differences in daily culture helps to foster friendships & is also important for doing business.  Covers a wide variety of topics: food/drink, love/marriage, masculinity vs femininity, kinship, raising children, education, individualism vs collectivism, gift giving, mythology/superstition, entertainment, sports, religion, festivals & holidays. ISBN: 9781587367908"
Teens in China (Global Connections)
Teens in China (Global Connections)
"Ages 9 - 11 Published 2007, 26 pgs Appropriate for students looking for a place to start a research project. Clear, concise writing & age-appropriate vocabulary. 'The choices Chinese teens make will determine how a new generation will balance traditional and modern life in China.' Part of a series that uncovers the challenges, pastimes, and customs of teens around the world.  ISBN: 0756520681"
American Born Chinese
American Born Chinese
"YA, ages 7 - adult Published 2008, 240 pages A FUN way to understand the experience of children of Chinese immigrants, racist stereotypes, and the iconic monkey king.  This hilarious graphic novel is 'more than just the story of a Chinese-American childhood; it's a fable for every kid born into a body and a life they wished they could escape.' ISBN: 0312384483"
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
"Ages 9 - 12 / Grades 3 - 6 Published 2011 Acclaimed story about a memorable heroine & a mystical land using themes taken from a rich history of traditional Chinese folklore, tells about the evil of greed & the joy of gratitude. ISBN: 0316038636"
A Grain of Rice
A Grain of Rice
"Grades 3 - 8 Published 1995, 80 pages Short and sweet! Set on the grounds and in the palace of the Emperor of China, the son of a farmer, kneels in the Emperor's court to ask for his majesty's daughter's hand in marriage. Borrows from the motifs of oral literature & also weaves in information about arithmetical progression & 15th-Century Chinese people, patterns, and traditions. ISBN: 044041301X"
A Letter to the King (Mandarin Chinese and English Edition)
A Letter to the King (Mandarin Chinese and English Edition)
"Grade 3, Ages 4 - 8 Ancient folktale of family loyalty and a girl's courage.  Her father, a village doctor, is unjustly accused of and jailed for letting an influential patient die. she writes a letter to the king, asking to be taken prisoner in her father's place. The king is so moved that he frees her father. Hardcover ISBN: 0060200790 Softcover ISBN:B000OEA5UM"
Confucius: The Golden Rule
Confucius: The Golden Rule
"Grades 4 - 8 / Ages 9 - 12 published 2002, 48 pages Biography of the 5th-century B.C. philosopher Confucius with Chinese history, culture & language skillfully & smoothly woven into the narrative.  Explains Confucian philosophy succinctly, without dumbing it down ISBN: 0439139570"
Giant Pandas in a Shrinking Forest: A Cause and Effect Investigation (Animals on the Edge)
Giant Pandas in a Shrinking Forest: A Cause and Effect Investigation (Animals on the Edge)
"Ages 9-12, Published by Capstone Press 2011, 32 pages Forced into smaller and smaller areas, the giant panda is losing its habitat. As their habitat decreases, pandas are pushed to the edge of change. Discover how scientists are trying to answer the questions behind giant pandas in a shrinking forest. ISBN: 1429654015"
Great Wall of China (Troubled Treasures: World Heritage Sites)
Great Wall of China (Troubled Treasures: World Heritage Sites)
"Ages 9 - 12 /Grades 3 & 4 32 pages Published 2011 From an environmental science and ecosystems perspective. ISBN: 1616135654 (Library Binding)"
Through Time: Beijing
Through Time: Beijing
"Ages 4 - 8 / Grades 3 - 6 Published 2008, 48 pages Attractive layout, full-color panoramic architectural drawings (no actual photos though). Explains in beautiful colors (& timeline on the history of Beijing) how the Forbidden City moved through the ages from a humble iron age village 16000 B.C., to the Cultural Revolution, to 'museum city' of modern industrialized China. ISBN: 0753461757"
You Wouldn't Want to Be in the Forbidden City!: A Sheltered Life You'd Rather Avoid
You Wouldn't Want to Be in the Forbidden City!: A Sheltered Life You'd Rather Avoid
"Ages 4 - 8 Published 2008 32 pages 'It's 1750 and you've always wanted to work in China's Forbidden City. But you better be careful. The emperors are impossible to please. Their informants are everywhere. And if you make a mistake, you, your friends, and your family will all pay—with your lives!' ISBN: 0531169014"
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel (Random House Reader's Circle)
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel (Random House Reader's Circle)
"2011 LOVE this book, Author Lisa See's books are incredible and you can learn SO much about Chinese culture and history from them!  This one is the best one for HS/middle school students with a description of CHILDHOOD.  Has graphic descriptions of footbinding yet STILL manages to be empowering for women!  A work of genius!  Now a motion picture that compares to Joy Luck Club! ISBN: 0812982711"
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel
"Deckle Edged Edition -Beautiful! Vivid portrait of family & village life in 19th century China, a women's secret written language and friendship. 'Even though the women's culture and upbringing may be vastly different from readers' own, the life lessons are much the same, and they will be remembered long after the details of this fascinating story are forgotten.' ISBN: 0812980352"
Mao and Me
Mao and Me
"Grades 4 - 8 / Ages 9 -12 Published 2008, 96 pages Picture-book memoir mixes daily life with national events. In beautifully detailed ink-and-watercolor art of a child’s tearful face to the packed streets with violent insurrection, public beatings, and parades.  A straightforward story of the years between 1966 and 1976 through the eyes of a child. ISBN: 9781592700790"
The Passion of the Mao
The Passion of the Mao
"2008 My students loved this madcap documentary. Reexamines the Cultural Revolution, corrects misconceptions about Mao and explains why he is viewed as a hero and a villain with funny little cartoon clips that depict interesting and shocking little tidbits about his life.  Made by a teacher who has spent years teaching about Mao in his classrooms, ASIN: B001B187IE"
China - A Century of Revolution
China - A Century of Revolution
"2002 The stories from this part of China's history are o incredibly bizarre, tragic and thought-provoking that it is difficult to believe they are all true.  This documentary is amazing and includes many interviews with people who have shocking and tragic stories to tell.  Students should see some of this! ASIN: B00005RRID"
Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party
Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party
"Ages 9 - 12 (or older!) 272 pages Published 2009 This is the BEST Cultural Revolution story for young people.  it is better than 'Red Scarf Girl'. ISBN: 0312581491"
China's Son: Growing Up in the Cultural Revolution
China's Son: Growing Up in the Cultural Revolution
"12 - Up Published 2004 My male students especially loved this book.  It is like the Chinese version of 'The Outsiders' set in the Cultural Revolution when the protagonist is gradually included in a gang of hoodlums who accept him after he is outcast everywhere else. The characters are amazing, funny and unforgettable.  Emphasizes the values of perseverance and a good education. ISBN:044022926X"
Snow Falling in Spring: Coming of Age in China During the Cultural Revolution
Snow Falling in Spring: Coming of Age in China During the Cultural Revolution
"12 - Up Published 2010 Another excellent memoir of the Cultural Revolution and coming of age novel.  I like the first three chapters so much, I always assign them in my classes.  She describes so well what it was like to live in a hutong courtyard home before the troubles began and her innocent confusion about the politics that were happening is funny and endearing. ISBN: 0312608675"
Tibet (Opposing Viewpoints)
Tibet (Opposing Viewpoints)
"Grades 10 - 12 Published 2008 A collection well-chosen excerpts clearly express opposing opinions on a few selected aspects of the debate on Tibet.  From a long-running, award-winning series, THE BEST material for well-informed classroom debates.  Unfortunately, the publisher does not provide a table of contents online that I can find for any of the Opposing Viewpoints books. ISBN: 0737742410"
Vanishing Cultures:: Himalaya
Vanishing Cultures:: Himalaya
"Ages 7 - Up Published 2007, 32 pages Modernization has left behind societies & cultures that are now rapidly vanishing. This is from a series that describes those cultures for young people. A brief story with clear text & vivid photographs shows how families meet their subsistence needs, practice their beliefs, interact in their communities, and live in the elements. ISBN: 1600601294"
China: Portrait of a People
China: Portrait of a People
"Published 2010, 638 pages Remarkable photo essay that shows just how ordinary but incredibly diverse people of the PRC really are, with their different facial features, skin hues, lifestyles, cultures & occupations. ISBN: 9889979942"
Vanishing Cultures: Mongolia
Vanishing Cultures: Mongolia
"Grades 3 - 5 / Ages 9 - 12 Published in 2007 32 Pages 'Economic development, technological growth, & environmental degradation have affected the lives of all people on this planet. Yet modernization has changed the way of life more slowly for some.' Effectively communicates fairly sophisticated lessons to younger children with clear narratives & vivid photographs. ISBN: 1600601308"
Modern Nations of the World - Taiwan
Modern Nations of the World - Taiwan
"Published 2000, YA, 12 - Up The island nation of Taiwan (officially unrecognized by most countries) thrives as a vibrant democracy & an economic powerhouse while still struggling to come to some political arrangement with the Chinese motherland. A solid, lasting reference for a school library's geography section from the same publisher of the acclaimed Opposing Viewpoints series. ISBN:1560068191"
Tiananmen Square: Massacre Crushes China's Democracy Movement (Snapshots in History)
Tiananmen Square: Massacre Crushes China's Democracy Movement (Snapshots in History)
"Young Adult, published in 2009, 48 pages I prefer to say 'incident' or 'student uprising' as opposed to the sensational 'massacre'. Images of this tragedy are used TOO often in the western media's depictions of China.  This is perhaps THE event that most enticed me to come to China actually.  No idea if THIS particular book is good though . . . ISBN: 0756541018"
At Issue in History - Tiananmen Square Massacre
At Issue in History - Tiananmen Square Massacre
"Grades 10 - 12, published 2002 Collection of excerpts that clearly express opposing opinions to use in this seldom addressed debate.  Creates an informative, many-sided, well-balanced representation on who knew what, & when, & who was responsible. From the same publisher that makes the long-running Opposing viewpoints series -Well-chosen primary-source material! ISBN: 0737711752"
China (Introducing Issues With Opposing Viewpoints)
China (Introducing Issues With Opposing Viewpoints)
"published 2009 Grades 7 - 12 The 'Introducing Issues' books are similar to the regular Opposing Viewpoints books but they are more introductory, simpler and geared to younger students. ISBN: 0737743352"
U.S. Policy Toward China (At Issue: Opposing Viewpoints)
U.S. Policy Toward China (At Issue: Opposing Viewpoints)
"Published 1996 Grades 10 - 12 The full catalog from this publisher, Greenhaven Press, is extensive and very interesting to browse.  Check it out on publisher's website here: http://www.gale.cengage.com/servlet/BrowseSeriesServlet?region=9&imprint=360&browseBy=series&titleCode=GOVPL ISBN: B0044ND2LI"
Historical Debate How Should China Modernize
Historical Debate How Should China Modernize
"Grades 10 - 12 50 pages From 1989 so this 'pamphlet' is seriously dated of course, but it could serve the purpose of FRAMING A DEBATE very well.  Students could be assigned the task of pointing out which points are outdated. ISBN: 0899088945"