CHINA’S SON

GROWING UP IN THE CULTURAL REVOLUTION

Adapted from his work published for adults, Colors of the Mountain (1999), this autobiography of a landlord’s son growing up as a pariah in his village in the ’60s is gripping and funny. Da Chen is a good student, but he drifts in and out of school with the political climate, in many ways choosing the path of least resistance, but also holding onto the things that move him—history and music. As the youngest, he is encouraged by his family to pursue his studies, as all his older siblings have been forced into farming. Da Chen’s narrative moves smoothly, communicating setting and character with an immediacy that will draw young readers in. It is nearly word-for-word the same as Colors of the Mountain. For the most part, the deletions are non-essential to the story, although many of them would have made the cultural climate depicted clearer to young readers. It seems that the reason for the adaptation is primarily for length—although it’s unlikely that the missing hundred pages would have made the difference between a young person deciding to read this or not. (Autobiography. 10-15)

Pub Date: June 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-385-72929-4

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2001

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MARTHA GRAHAM

A DANCER'S LIFE

In a biography as elegant as its subject, Freedman (Out of Darkness, 1997, etc.) delves into the life of the dance pioneer who not only revolutionized modern dance but married it with theater, music, literature, and art in a dazzling and emotional way. Graham began her serious dance study already too “old” (at age 19), according to prevailing standards; despite critics and a public who didn’t initially understand her work, Graham was so fiercely dedicated to her art that she became one of the 20th century’s most important influences on modern dance. Freedman discloses Graham’s intensity in work and relationships, and explains her techniques and dances in lively, theatrical language; he doesn’t canonize Graham, however, but portrays her as a passionate woman, with a fiery temperament, whose every aspect of life was reflected in her art. Extraordinary black-and-white photographs coalesce with the clear and stimulating chronicle of her life and art, until a complete picture of a genius emerges from the pages of this enlightening, liberating volume. (Biography. 10-15)

Pub Date: April 20, 1998

ISBN: 0-395-74655-8

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1998

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An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist.

MAYA LIN

THINKING WITH HER HANDS

One of the world’s most celebrated creators of civic architecture is profiled in this accessible, engaging biography.

Similar in style and format to her Everybody Paints!: The Lives and Art of the Wyeth Family (2014) and Wideness and Wonder: The Life and Art of Georgia O’Keeffe (2011), Rubin’s well-researched profile examines the career, creative processes, and career milestones of Maya Lin. Rubin discusses at length Lin’s most famous achievement, designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Chinese-American Lin was a reserved college student who entered and won the competition to design and build the memorial. Her youth and ethnicity were subjects of great controversy, and Rubin discusses how Lin fought to ensure her vision of the memorial remained intact. Other notable works by Lin, including the Civil Rights Memorial for the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, a library and chapel for the Children’s Defense Fund, the Museum of Chinese in America, and the outdoor Wave Field project are examined but not in as much depth as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Attractively designed, the book is illustrated extensively with color photos and drawings.

An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist. (bibliography, source notes, index) (Biography. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0837-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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