Little Leap Forward: a Boy in Beijing

urlBased on the author’s childhood, this is a beautifully written glimpse into China in the 1960’s. A young boy named Little Leap Forward lives in a traditional courtyard in Beijing with his siblings and kind, loving mother. His father, who passed away two years ago, was a musician, and Leap Forward hopes to be one, too. He and his best friend fly kites and skim stones along the river. One day they capture a tiny yellow bird, and Leap Forward decides to keep it as a pet and write down the notes she sings. The little bird will not sing, though, even with all the special treats it receives, and Leap Forward must consider the costs of his denying the bird its freedom. This sweet tale is interwoven with a more serious story about growing up in the early years of the People’s Republic of China at the very beginning of the Cultural Revolution. Because food is still scarce, many items are rationed, and family members such as Leap Forward must use ration tickets and wait in long lines when they purchase food. The Cultural Revolution ushers in the Red Guards, with some sad consequences for Leap Forward and a girl he is fond of, named Blue. Because the story is told from a young child’s perspective, there is nothing graphic or “too mature” for an elementary school audience. This book would be a wonderful choice for a family read-aloud, giving parents an opportunity to broaden their child’s understanding about a far away land and time.

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4 Comments on “Little Leap Forward: a Boy in Beijing”

  1. Abbie Goldberg Says:

    This book was so sweet! It was also beautifully illustrated. A wonderful balance of information and emotion. It introduces many profound thoughts while staying relevant and enjoyable for younger children.

  2. marta Says:

    It wasn’t my favorite but it was still a pretty good book. I liked the part about Little Cloud, the pet bird. You can learn about the Cultural Revolution in China when you read this book.

  3. zoe Says:

    It’s a really good book. It’s sort of short, some people wouldn’t get it, but if you’re the kind of person who can understand deep meanings like setting things free even if you think they’re pretty and you want them to sing for you, you should read it.

  4. KIM Says:

    That sounds like a really good book!!! I should read it!


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