Friday, February 11, 2011

Mao's Last Dancer by Li Cunxin

(This was for my school book talk.)

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be poor and hungry? Do you like touching stories about achieving your dreams? Does ballet interest you? Would you like to learn about China and its government? Well, if you said yes to at least one of these questions, Mao’s Last Dancer, by Li Cunxin (Chuen-shing), might be just the book for you.
Li Cunxin is very kind and loves his family. He is a great friend and works hard to get things done. Mao’s Last Dancer is set in China and America in 1960 to about 2009.
This novel begins with Li and his family, who are just barely getting by. During class one day, representatives from Madame Mao’s Dance Academy come, looking for dancers. All the selected kids had to take tests of flexibility until there were only a few children left, one being Cunxin. Next, Cunxin began his training. After years of dancing and hard work, Li finally started to love dance. He got to train in Houston, Texas for the summer and went back again for a year, where he met his first love, Elizabeth, and secretly, they eloped without telling Ben Stevenson, choreographer of the Houston Ballet.
What will happen next? Will the Chinese try to stop Li? You’ll have to pick up this fascinating book to find out yourself. Prepare to be surprised, humbled, and shocked along the way as you read about Li’s life story in his autobiography.

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