Recommended Books

Grades 9-12 – China

The Good Earth (Oprah's Book Club)

The Good Earth (Oprah's Book Club)

Pearl S. Buck

Nobel Laureate Pearl S. Buck’s epic Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and Oprah Book Club selection about a vanished China and one family’s shifting fortunes.

Though more than seventy years have passed since this remarkable novel won the Pulitzer Prize, it has retained its popularity and become one of the great modern classics. In The Good Earth Pearl S. Buck paints an indelible portrait of China in the 1920s, when the last emperor reigned and the vast political and social upheavals of the twentieth century were but distant rumblings. This moving, classic story of the honest farmer Wang Lung and his selfless wife O-Lan is must reading for those who would fully appreciate the sweeping changes that have occurred in the lives of the Chinese people during the last century.

Nobel Prize winner Pearl S. Buck traces the whole cycle of life: its terrors, its passions, its ambitions and rewards. Her brilliant novel—beloved by millions of readers—is a universal tale of an ordinary family caught in the tide of history.

Judge Dee at Work: Eight Chinese Detective Stories (Judge Dee Mysteries)

Judge Dee at Work: Eight Chinese Detective Stories (Judge Dee Mysteries)

Robert van Gulik
The eight short stories in Judge Dee at Work cover a decade during which the judge served in four different provinces of the T’ang Empire. From the suspected treason of a general in the Chinese army to the murder of a lonely poet in his garden pavilion, the cases here are among the most memorable in the Judge Dee series.
The Dragon&

The Dragon&

Yuan-tsung Chen

Seventeen-year-old Ling-ling joins a revolutionary theater group carrying out reforms in the Chinese countryside in 1949 and amid tumultous events, she grows toward maturity.

Son of the Revolution

Son of the Revolution

Liang Heng, Judith Shapiro

An autobiography of a young Chinese man whose childhood and adolescence were spent in Mao’s China during the Cultural Revolution.

Born Red: A Chronicle of the Cultural Revolution

Born Red: A Chronicle of the Cultural Revolution

Gao Yuan

Born Red is an artistically wrought personal account, written very much from inside the experience, of the years 1966-1969, when the author was a young teenager at middle school. It was in the middle schools that much of the fury of the Cultural Revolution and Red Guard movement was spent, and Gao was caught up in very dramatic events, which he recounts as he understood them at the time. Gao’s father was a county political official who was in and out of trouble during those years, and the intense interplay between father and son and the differing perceptions and impact of the Cultural Revolution for the two generations provide both an unusual perspective and some extraordinary moving moments. He also makes deft use of traditional mythology and proverbial wisdom to link, sometimes ironically, past and present. Gao relates in vivid fashion how students-turned-Red Guards held mass rallies against ‘capitalist roader’ teachers and administrators, marching them through the streets to the accompaniment of chants and jeers and driving some of them to suicide. Eventually the students divided into two factions, and school and town became armed camps. Gao tells of the exhilaration that he and his comrades experienced at their initial victories, of their deepening disillusionment as they utter defeat as the tumultuous first phase of the Cultural Revolution came to a close. The portraits of the persons to whom Gao introduces us – classmates, teachers, family members – gain weight and density as the story unfolds, so that in the end we see how they all became victims of the dynamics of a mass movement out of control.

Almost a Revolution: The Story of a Chinese Student's Journey from Boyhood to Leadership in Tiananmen Square (Ann Arbor Paperbacks)

Almost a Revolution: The Story of a Chinese Student's Journey from Boyhood to Leadership in Tiananmen Square (Ann Arbor Paperbacks)

Tong Shen
In his groundbreaking memoir about China’s democracy movement and the massacre at Tiananmen Square in June 1989, student leader Shen Tong offers us a rare look at a bold and daring new generation of Chinese citizens who tried to protest the restraints imposed by their country’s government. An organizer of the “dialogue delegation,” whose goal was to negotiate with the government, Shen provides an insider’s record of the day-to-day decisions that led up to June 4th. Written with the help of journalist Marianne Yen, the result is both a powerful documentary and a sensitive account of growing up in contemporary China.
Now nearly ten years later as our fascination with post-Deng China continues to develop, Shen’s story and the updated material he provides are weighted with increasing significance. Coupled with much of the recent analysis, Shen’s firsthand account vividly contextualizes the Chinese government’s opposition to democracy and offers meaningful insight into a country that promises to occupy an increasingly prominent position in the world.
“A cause for celebration . . . an important contribution to China’s newly discovered historical memory.” —New York Times Book Review
Shen Tong is a doctoral student in political sociology at Boston University and the founder of the Democracy for China Fund, which aims to support and publicize dissent networks in China. Marianne Yen is a former New York correspondent for the Washington Post.
Falling Leaves: The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter

Falling Leaves: The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter

Adeline Yen Mah

The daughter of a wealthy Hong Kong businessman describes her very difficult childhood and the psychological abuse she suffered at the hands of her stepmother

Strange Tales from the Liaozhai Studio (3 Volume Set)

Strange Tales from the Liaozhai Studio (3 Volume Set)

Pu Songling
Death of a Red Heroine (An Inspector Chen Investigation)

Death of a Red Heroine (An Inspector Chen Investigation)

Qiu Xiaolong

Inspector Chen must battle the political climate of Shanghai and seek the help of a former lover in order to solve the murder of a National Model Worker who was a celebrity of utmost probity. Reprint.

Strange Tales from Make-Do Studio

Strange Tales from Make-Do Studio

Pu Songling

Strange Tales from Make-Do Studio is a famous collection of about 500 short stories by Pu Songling (1640 – 1715), a writer of the Qing Dynasty. Fifty-one stories are selected for this English edition. These stories cover a wide range of subjects, such as werefoxes and fish spirits and ghosts and monsters that are personified. Like human beings, they have feelings of good and evil, beauty and ugliness, love and hatred as well as happiness and discontent. These mystical stories reflect the social life of the time in which they were written. Living under a feudal monarchy, the writer had to criticize the unfairness of the feudal system and express his indignation by writing of fox spirits and monsters. Although most of these stories are progressive and written with a critical slant, some of them still have ideas of feudal superstition and fatalism. The stories in Strange Tales from Make-Do Studio are written in simple and straightforward language, but they are highly structured with complicated plots that often employ the technique of combining illusion with reality. Some of these stories are based on popular folk legends and thus have a plain, folksy style. The ideological and artistic achievements of Strange Tales from Make-Do Studio have greatly influenced later novels and operas.

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress: A Novel

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress: A Novel

Dai Sijie

New York Times Bestseller

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress is an enchanting tale that captures the magic of reading and the wonder of romantic awakening. An immediate international bestseller, it tells the story of two hapless city boys exiled to a remote mountain village for re-education during China’s infamous Cultural Revolution. There the two friends meet the daughter of the local tailor and discover a hidden stash of Western classics in Chinese translation. As they flirt with the seamstress and secretly devour these banned works, the two friends find transit from their grim surroundings to worlds they never imagined.

Please Don't Call Me Human

Please Don't Call Me Human

Wang Shuo

Now Wang Shuo, easily Chinas coolest and most popular novelist, applies his genius for satire and cultural irreverence to one of the worlds sacred rituals, the Olympic Games. In Please Dont Call Me Human, he imagines an Olympics where nations compete not on the basis of athletic prowess, but on their citizens capacity for humiliationand China is determined to win at any cost. Banned in China for its rudeness and vulgarity, this astonishing, tripped-out novel is filled with outlandish antics that have earned Wang Shuo his own genre, hooligan literature.

To Live: A Novel

To Live: A Novel

Yu Hua

From the author of Brothers and China in Ten Words: this celebrated contemporary classic of Chinese literature was also adapted for film by Zhang Yimou. This searing novel, originally banned in China but later named one of that nation’s most influential books, portrays one man’s transformation from the spoiled son of a landlord to a kindhearted peasant. After squandering his family’s fortune in gambling dens and brothels, the young, deeply penitent Fugui settles down to do the honest work of a farmer. Forced by the Nationalist Army to leave behind his family, he witnesses the horrors and privations of the Civil War, only to return years later to face a string of hardships brought on by the ravages of the Cultural Revolution. Left with an ox as the companion of his final years, Fugui stands as a model of gritty authenticity, buoyed by his appreciation for life in this narrative of humbling power.

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China

Jung Chang

The story of three generations in twentieth-century China that blends the intimacy of memoir and the panoramic sweep of eyewitness history—a bestselling classic in thirty languages with more than ten million copies sold around the world, now with a new introduction from the author.

An engrossing record of Mao’s impact on China, an unusual window on the female experience in the modern world, and an inspiring tale of courage and love, Jung Chang describes the extraordinary lives and experiences of her family members: her grandmother, a warlord’s concubine; her mother’s struggles as a young idealistic Communist; and her parents’ experience as members of the Communist elite and their ordeal during the Cultural Revolution. Chang was a Red Guard briefly at the age of fourteen, then worked as a peasant, a “barefoot doctor,” a steelworker, and an electrician. As the story of each generation unfolds, Chang captures in gripping, moving—and ultimately uplifting—detail the cycles of violent drama visited on her own family and millions of others caught in the whirlwind of history.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel

Lisa See

In nineteenth-century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, an “old same,” in an emotional match that will last a lifetime. The laotong, Snow Flower, introduces herself by sending Lily a silk fan on which she’s written a poem in nu shu, a unique language that Chinese women created in order to communicate in secret, away from the influence of men. As the years pass, Lily and Snow Flower send messages on the fan and compose stories on handkerchiefs, reaching out of isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. Together they endure the agony of footbinding and reflect upon their arranged marriages, their loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace in their friendship, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their relationship suddenly threatens to tear apart.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a captivating journey back to an era of Chinese history that is as deeply moving as it is sorrowful. Now in a deluxe paperback edition complete with an expanded Random House Reader’s Circle guide and an exclusive conversation between Lisa See and her mother, fellow writer Carolyn See, this lyrical and emotionally charged novel is, as the Seattle Times says, “a beautifully drawn portrait of female friendship and power.”

American Born Chinese

American Born Chinese

Gene Luen Yang

Gene Luen Yang is the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

Jin Wang starts at a new school where he’s the only Chinese-American student. When a boy from Taiwan joins his class, Jin doesn’t want to be associated with an FOB like him. Jin just wants to be an all-American boy, because he’s in love with an all-American girl. Danny is an all-American boy: great at basketball, popular with the girls. But his obnoxious Chinese cousin Chin-Kee’s annual visit is such a disaster that it ruins Danny’s reputation at school, leaving him with no choice but to transfer somewhere he can start all over again. The Monkey King has lived for thousands of years and mastered the arts of kung fu and the heavenly disciplines. He’s ready to join the ranks of the immortal gods in heaven. But there’s no place in heaven for a monkey. Each of these characters cannot help himself alone, but how can they possibly help each other? They’re going to have to find a way―if they want fix the disasters their lives have become.

American Born Chinese is a 2006 National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature, the winner of the 2007 Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album: New, an Eisner Award nominee for Best Coloring, a 2007 Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year, and a New York Times bestseller.

This title has Common Core Connections

Rebels of the Heavenly Kingdom

Rebels of the Heavenly Kingdom

Katherine Paterson

Carried away by bandits, Wang Lee is rescued by the Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace and he joins the group’s leader, Mai Lin, in the battle against betrayal, oppression, and tyranny. Reprint.

Peony in Love: A Novel

Peony in Love: A Novel

Lisa See

“I finally understand what the poets have written. In spring, moved to passion; in autumn only regret.”

For young Peony, betrothed to a suitor she has never met, these lyrics from The Peony Pavilion mirror her own longings. In the garden of the Chen Family Villa, amid the scent of ginger, green tea, and jasmine, a small theatrical troupe is performing scenes from this epic opera, a live spectacle few females have ever seen. Like the heroine in the drama, Peony is the cloistered daughter of a wealthy family, trapped like a good-luck cricket in a bamboo-and-lacquer cage. Though raised to be obedient, Peony has dreams of her own.

Peony’s mother is against her daughter’s attending the production: “Unmarried girls should not be seen in public.” But Peony’s father assures his wife that proprieties will be maintained, and that the women will watch the opera from behind a screen. Yet through its cracks, Peony catches sight of an elegant, handsome man with hair as black as a cave–and is immediately overcome with emotion.

So begins Peony’s unforgettable journey of love and destiny, desire and sorrow–as Lisa See’s haunting new novel, based on actual historical events, takes readers back to seventeenth-century China, after the Manchus seize power and the Ming dynasty is crushed.

Steeped in traditions and ritual, this story brings to life another time and place–even the intricate realm of the afterworld, with its protocols, pathways, and stages of existence, a vividly imagined place where one’s soul is divided into three, ancestors offer guidance, misdeeds are punished, and hungry ghosts wander the earth. Immersed in the richness and magic of the Chinese vision of the afterlife, transcending even death, Peony in Love explores, beautifully, the many manifestations of love. Ultimately, Lisa See’s new novel addresses universal themes: the bonds of friendship, the power of words, and the age-old desire of women to be heard.

From the Hardcover edition.

Boxers (Boxers & Saints)

Boxers (Boxers & Saints)

Gene Luen Yang, Lark Pien

Gene Luen Yang is the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and is a MacArthur Fellow, a recipient of what’s popularly known as the MacArthur “Genius” Grant.

A New York Times bestseller

China,1898. Bands of foreign missionaries and soldiers roam the countryside, bullying and robbing Chinese peasants.

Little Bao has had enough. Harnessing the powers of ancient Chinese gods, he recruits an army of Boxers – commoners trained in kung fu who fight to free China from “foreign devils.”

Against all odds, this grass-roots rebellion is violently successful. But nothing is simple. Little Bao is fighting for the glory of China, but at what cost? So many are dying, including thousands of “secondary devils” – Chinese citizens who have converted to Christianity.

Boxers & Saints is an innovative new graphic novel in two volumes – the parallel stories of two young people caught up on opposite sides of a violent rift. American Born Chinese author Gene Luen Yang brings his clear-eyed storytelling and trademark magical realism to the complexities of the Boxer Rebellion and lays bare the foundations of extremism, rebellion, and faith.

Discover the other side of the Boxer Rebellion in Saints – the companion volume to Boxers.

The Vine Basket

The Vine Basket

Josanne La Valley

Things aren’t looking good for fourteen-year-old Mehrigul. She yearns to be in school, but she’s needed on the family farm. The longer she’s out of school, the more likely it is that she’ll be sent off to a Chinese factory . . . perhaps never to return. Her only hope is an American woman who buys one of her decorative vine baskets for a staggering sum and says she will return in three weeks for more. Mehrigul must brave terrible storms, torn-up hands from working the fields, and her father’s scorn to get the baskets done. The stakes are high, and time is passing. A powerful intergenerational story of a strong, creative young artist in a cruelly oppressive society.

The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball
FREEMAN AWARD WINNER

The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball

Dori Jones Yang

A Chinese boy struggles to adapt to American life–and discovers baseball. Despite his impulsive and curious nature, twelve-year-old Leon is determined to follow the Emperor’s rules―to live with an American family, study hard, and return home to modernize China. But he also must keep the braid that shows his loyalty―and resist such forbidden American temptations as baseball. As Leon overcomes teasing and makes friends, his elder brother becomes increasingly alienated. Eventually, Leon faces a tough decision, torn between his loyalty to his birth country―and his growing love for his new home.

The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball is a lively, poignant, and nuanced novel based on a little-known episode from history, when 120 boys were sent to New England by the Emperor of China in the 1870s. This story dramatizes both the rigid expectations and the wrenching alienation felt by many foreign children in America today―and richly captures that tension between love and hate that is culture shock. It gives American readers a glimpse into what it feels like to be a foreigner in the United States and will spark thoughtful discussions.

Want
FREEMAN AWARD Honorable Mention

Want

Cindy Pon

“Fresh, compelling—and timely.” —Veronica Roth, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Carve the Mark and the Divergent series
“Vividly conjured…positively chilling.” —The New York Times
“Spectacular.” —Buzzfeed

Set in a near-future Taipei plagued by pollution, a group of teens risk everything to save their city in this thrilling novel from critically acclaimed author Cindy Pon.

Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits, protecting them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.

With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.

Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is, or destroying his own heart?

The Astonishing Color of After
FREEMAN AWARD WINNER

The Astonishing Color of After

Emily X.R. Pan
“Emily X.R. Pan’s brilliantly crafted, harrowing first novel portrays the vast spectrum of love and grief with heart-wrenching beauty and candor. This is a very special book.”
–John Green, bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars and Turtles All the Way Down
An instant New York Times bestseller, this stunning, heartbreaking novel about grief, love, and family is perfect for fans of Jandy Nelson and Celeste Ng.
Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.
Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.
Alternating between reality and magic, past and present, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a luminous debut novel about finding oneself through family history, art, bravery, and love.
Girls on the Line
FREEMAN AWARD Honorable Mention

Girls on the Line

Jennie Liu

“An affecting and original thrill ride.” Kirkus Reviews

A powerful, dual-narrative coming-of-age story set in 2009 China.

Luli has just turned sixteen and finally aged out of the orphanage where she’s spent the last eight years. Her friend Yun has promised to help her get work.

Yun loves the independence that her factory job brings her. For the first time in her life she has her own money and can get the things she wants: nice clothes, a cell phone…and Yong, her new boyfriend.

There are rumors about Yong, though. Some people say he’s a bride trafficker: romancing young women only to kidnap them and sell them off to bachelors in the countryside. Yun doesn’t believe it. But then she discovers she’s pregnant―the same day she gets fired from her job. If she can’t scrape together enough money to terminate the pregnancy, she’ll face a huge fine for having an unauthorized child.

Luli wants to help her friend, but she’s worried about what Yong might do…especially when Yun disappears.

The Analects: An Illustrated Edition (The Illustrated Library of Chinese Classics Book 4)
FREEMAN AWARD Of Note

The Analects: An Illustrated Edition (The Illustrated Library of Chinese Classics Book 4)

Confucius

For the first time in one volume, The Analects illustrated by bestselling cartoonist C. C. Tsai

C. C. Tsai is one of Asia’s most popular cartoonists, and his editions of the Chinese classics have sold more than 40 million copies in over twenty languages. This volume presents Tsai’s delightful graphic adaptation of The Analects, one of the most influential books of all time and a work that continues to inspire countless readers today.

Tsai’s expressive drawings bring Confucius and his students to life as no other edition of the Analects does. See Confucius engage his students over the question of how to become a leader worth following in a society of high culture, upward mobility, and vicious warfare. Which virtues should be cultivated, what makes for a harmonious society, and what are the important things in life? Unconcerned with religious belief but a staunch advocate of tradition, Confucius emphasizes the power of society to create sensitive, respectful, and moral individuals. In many ways, Confucius speaks directly to modern concerns–about how we can value those around us, educate the next generation, and create a world in which people are motivated to do the right thing.

A marvelous introduction to a timeless classic, this book also features an illuminating foreword by Michael Puett, coauthor of The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us about the Good Life. In addition, Confucius’s original Chinese text is artfully presented in narrow sidebars on each page, enriching the books for readers and students of Chinese without distracting from the self-contained English-language cartoons. The text is skillfully translated by Brian Bruya, who also provides an introduction.

The Dragon Ridge Tombs (The City of Sand)
FREEMAN AWARD Of Note

The Dragon Ridge Tombs (The City of Sand)

Tianxia Bachang

The second book in China’s multimillion-copy bestselling series takes readers on a treacherous journey to the depths beneath a mountain range, where ancient tombs are certain to contain riches but also rumored to be guarded by merciless supernatural forces.

Self-proclaimed gold hunter Tianyi, who has excellent feng shui skills, along with his best friend, Kai, and a shady antiques dealer called Gold Tooth, have traveled all the way from Beijing to Gulan in search of treasure in ancient tombs. But what they think will be a simple grab-and-go of loot turns into trouble when they are faced with a perplexing labyrinth of tunnels full of unexpected obstacles, traps, and deadly creatures that thwart their advancement, as well as their escape. As if that weren’t enough, the return of their American friend Julie Yang, with whom they faced perils on a previous expedition, leads to a startling discovery–one tied to both China’s ancient past and the Yang family’s history, and one that could very well be the death of them all.

Translated from the Chinese by Jeremy Tiang, whose recent work includes NEVER GROW UP, the translation from Chinese of the autobiography from action movie superstar Jackie Chan.

FREEMAN AWARD Honorable Mention

Tiananmen 1989: Our Shattered Hopes

Lun Zhang and Adrien Gombeaud, Illustrated by Ameziane

Follow the story of China’s infamous June Fourth Incident — otherwise known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre — from the first-hand account of a young sociology teacher who witnessed it all.

Over 30 years ago, on April 15th 1989, the occupation of Tiananmen Square began. As tens of thousands of students and concerned Chinese citizens took to the streets demanding political reforms, the fate of China’s communist system was unknown. When reports of soldiers marching into Beijing to suppress the protests reverberated across Western airwaves, the world didn’t know what to expect.

Lun Zhang was just a young sociology teacher then, in charge of management and safety service for the protests. Now, in this powerful graphic novel, Zhang pairs with French journalist and Asia specialist Adrien Gombeaud, and artist Ameziane, to share his unvarnished memory of this crucial moment in world history for the first time.

Providing comprehensive coverage of the 1989 protests that ended in bloodshed and drew global scrutiny, Zhang includes context for these explosive events, sympathetically depicting a world of discontented, idealistic, activist Chinese youth rarely portrayed in Western media. Many voices and viewpoints are on display, from Western journalists to Chinese administrators.

Describing how the hope of a generation was shattered when authorities opened fire on protestors and bystanders, Tiananmen 1989 shows the way in which contemporary China shaped itself.

FREEMAN AWARD Of Note

Like Spilled Water

Jennie Liu

Nineteen-year-old Na has always lived in the shadow of her younger brother, Bao-bao, her parents’ cherished son. Years ago, Na’s parents left her in the countryside and went to work in the city, bringing Bao-bao along and committing everything to his education.

But when Bao-bao dies suddenly, Na realizes how little she knew him. Did he really kill himself because of a low score on China’s all-important college entrance exam? Na learns that Bao-bao had many secrets and that his death may not be what it seems. Na’s parents expect her to quit her vocational school and go to work, forcing Na to confront traditional expectations for and pressures on young women.

Freedom Swimmer
FREEMAN AWARD Honorable Mention

Freedom Swimmer

Wai Chim

This incredible story about two boys’ swim from mainland China to Hong Kong in search of freedom from poverty and oppression is inspired by a true story

Ming survived the famine that killed his parents during China’s ‘Great Leap Forward’, and lives a hard but adequate life, working in the fields.

When a group of city boys comes to the village as part of a Communist Party re-education program, Ming and his friends aren’t sure what to make of the new arrivals. They’re not used to hard labor and village life. But despite his reservations, Ming befriends a charming city boy called Li. The two couldn’t be more different, but slowly they form a bond over evening swims and shared dreams.

But as the bitterness of life under the Party begins to take its toll on both boys, they begin to imagine the impossible: freedom.

The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan
FREEMAN AWARD Of Note

The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan

Sherry Thomas

A Warrior in Disguise

All her life, Mulan has trained for one purpose: to win the duel that every generation in her family must fight. If she prevails, she can reunite a pair of priceless heirloom swords separated decades earlier, and avenge her father, who was paralyzed in his own duel.

Then a messenger from the Emperor arrives, demanding that all families send one soldier to fight the Rouran invaders in the north. Mulan’s father cannot go. Her brother is just a child. So she ties up her hair, takes up her sword, and joins the army as a man.

A War for a Dynasty

Thanks to her martial arts skills, Mulan is chosen for an elite team under the command of the princeling—the royal duke’s son, who is also the handsomest man she’s ever seen. But the princeling has secrets of his own, which explode into Mulan’s life and shake up everything she knows. As they cross the Great Wall to face the enemy beyond, Mulan and the princeling must find a way to unwind their past, unmask a traitor, and uncover the plans for the Rouran invasion . . . before it’s too late.