When Mao's Cultural Revolution took hold in China in 1966, Ange Zhang was 13 years old. Complementing this autobiographical narrative with evocative color illustrations, archival images, and some of his own black-and-white photos, Ange gives a moving account of difficult experiences: from his early longing to join his peers in the Red Guard, to witnessing his father being publicly humiliated, to his growing alienation and disillusionment.
Gr. 5-8. In a straightforward, unemotional manner, this autobiography tells of a teenager's coming-of-age during China's Cultural Revolution. Thirteen years old in 1966, Ange takes pride in his father's standing as a writer and Red Army officer until the Red Guards suddenly denounce his father as a counter-revolutionary. Wanting desperately to belong, Ange joins a Red Guard group. But a violent encounter opens his mind to questions, and reading forbidden books by Western authors opens his thoughts. Sent to a farm in 1968, Ange works hard in the fields, continues to read, and rediscovers his love of art. The book ends with a brief epilogue on later events in his life and an excellent, seven-page section entitled "China's Cultural Revolution."On nearly every page, Zhang's distinctive artwork opens a window into his past. At times painterly, at times reminiscent of silk-screened posters, his computer-assisted illustrations are beautifully composed and often dramatic. The book also includes reproductions of period posters, artifacts, and black-and-white photos. Reminiscent of A Little Tiger in the Chinese Night: An Autobiography in Art (1993) by Song Nan Zhang, a fellow Chinese-Canadian artist, this handsome book provides a memorable introduction to the Cultural Revolution.