A powerful glimpse into the life of the award-winning illustrator details his experiences during Mao's Cultural Revolution in China in 1966, where family humiliation led to a journey of self-discovery and a passion for art.
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.