Chinese Cindarella by Adeline Yen Mah

Recommended by Hidaya Hallak (@Hallak_RH)

Form and genre: prose, a true account of the writer’s childhood

Length: 304 pages

Summary: Adeline describes her difficult experiences growing up in China in a wealthy family who loathe her and consider her bad luck/ a curse, as her mother died shortly after giving birth to her. Her father decides to remarry, and her stepmother is cruel, yet Adeline yearns for her family’s love and remains hopeful.

Age recommendation and challenging content: Child neglect throughout. Discrimination (class/gender/race). Some political references. Some religious references. Set during WW2. Chinese culture is at the heart of this book, which requires consideration in how to approach with an appropriate critical lens and cultural sensitivity. Would recommend for Y7-9.

Notable reasons for recommending this book:

A thought-provoking novel. Very sad, yet a moving and powerful read; challenging language and a great introduction to many themes explored in literature (KS4/5) (e.g. links can be made with AQA Poetry (P&C and L&R Kamikaze: exploring the notions of honour and family- one of many).