Book Review: Red Scarf Girl

Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution by Ji-li Jiang


This book is an account of a young, adolescent woman’s experience growing up in the Chinese Cultural Revolution, under the rule of Chairman Mao Zedong. It is a short, easy read meant for middle school or high school aged children  I really do hope you find a copy and read it.

If you do decide to read it, I would recommend that you read it with a friend. Then, after you have finished reading, explore the following questions together: 


Can this Cultural Revolution happen in America? 


Is America undergoing a Cultural Revolution? If so, why? If not, why?  


The book shows how the Chinese youth fought against the Four Olds. Do we see this happening in America? If so, why? If not, why? If so, what are we seeing? Are the youth in America fighting against the “American Four Olds”?  If so, what are the “American Four Olds”? 


Are people being labeled in America like they were in China? Who is doing the labeling? What did the labels, the Five Black Categories, stated in the book do to aid the Cultural Revolution? How is this happening in America? Do labels divide or unite us as Americans? Is the medical freedom movement one of the groups being labeled? 


Could the Chinese people have stopped the revolution? What could they have done to stop it? What can we learn from this lesson in history? How do we keep from repeating their mistakes and allowing such a revolution to happen in America? 


The purpose of these questions is to promote discussion. Perhaps you and your friends have more questions to add to the list above. I hope you do and I would love to hear them. The most important questions are the last two. I believe all of us should be asking and seeking answers to these questions.  If more freedom loving Americans would ponder these questions, maybe we could find a way to keep China’s history from becoming America’s. Or if it is already is, maybe we can still find a way to stop it. It’s my hope we will find a way to preserve our freedoms for ourselves, and our posterity. 


Written by: Mia Lowry