Little Green

A Memoir of Growing Up During the Chinese Cultural Revolution

Little Green

For Ages: 10 - 14
  • 6
In this stunning, lyrical memoir that includes a curriculum guide, author Chun Yu recalls the Chinese Cultural Revolution from the perspective of a ten-year-old.

When Chun Yu was born in a small city in China, she was born into a country in revolution. The streets were filled with roaming Red Guards, the walls were covered with slogans, and reeducation meetings were held in all workplaces. Every family faced danger and humiliation, even the youngest children.

Shortly after Chun’s birth, her beloved father was sent to a peasant village in the countryside to be reeducated in the ways of Chairman Mao. Chun and her brother stayed behind with their mother, who taught in a country middle school where Mao’s Little Red Book was a part of every child’s education. Chun Yu’s young life was witness to a country in turmoil, struggle, and revolution—the only life she knew.

“True to a child’s bewildered viewpoint and augmented by occasional, small black-and-white family photos” (Booklist), this memoir, complete with a curriculum guide, is a stunning account of a country in crisis and a testimony to the spirit of the individual— no matter how young or how innocent.
  • Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books | 
  • 128 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781442460317 | 
  • April 2015 | 
  • Grades 5 - 9 | 
  • Lexile ® 900L
List Price $7.99 (price may vary by retailer)
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Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide to

Little Green
by Chun Yu

About the Book

Little Green is the fascinating memoir of a young girl growing up during China’s Cultural Revolution, which took place between the years 1966 and 1976. Written in free verse, this poetic text highlights the impact of Chairman Mao’s policies on Little Green, her parents, grandparents, brother, and sister. Family life is disrupted when Little Green’s father is sent to the countryside to be reeducated, where he now has to live and work with peasant farmers. Meanwhile, Little Green’s mother is accused of having counterrevolutionary motives. Throughout these difficult ten years, Little Green experiences many changes, some of which she understands better than others. “Mama will explain things when you grow up,” she is told.

Because the book is a mix of personal experience and historical information, it invites multiple reader responses. Readers will respond to the strong feelings among members of Little Green’s family and their many acts of love for one another. Readers will also be able to envision past events because of the vivid descriptions of sights and sounds and the use of figurative language. In addition to evoking personal responses, the book also provides information about historical events. This information should prompt questions about these events: What happened? Why? What i see more

About the Author

Chun Yu
Photo Credit:

Chun Yu

Chun Yu was born in China in May 1966. After graduating from Peking University, she moved to the United States to pursue her PhD and a career in science. She now works as a principal scientist in a medical company Chun Yu lives in San Rafael, California.