A Child's Schooling, A Parent's Chronicle

Book Cover of Little Soldiers

Little Soldiers: An American Boy, a Chinese School and the Global Race to Achieve by Lenora Chu
Harper Collins, January 1, 2017

When journalist Lenora Chu and her husband relocated to Shanghai for work, they made the choice to enroll their son in the Chinese equivalent of pre-K, and they thought they had a decent idea of what awaited him. Finding herself sometimes delighted, sometimes disquieted by aspects of her son's experience, Chu embarked on a multi-year journey to chronicle her child's education and development through a parent's eyes. In Little Soldiers, she details that experience while also looking at the Chinese culture of education as a whole. Chu is forthright about her struggle to reconcile that which is appealing about the Chinese early education system with those aspects that bristle with her more "American" sensibilities about individuality, creativity, and free will – ultimately landing in a place that sees both value and detriment in aspects of Chinese and American ways of schooling. A key takeaway relates the role that sustained, deliberate effort plays in academic achievement in Chinese culture versus American culture. Educators who work with Chinese international students or American-born children of Chinese immigrants will find Little Soldiers both entertaining and insightful for its window into the systemic, familial, and cultural factors  that come to bear on a child in China, and how those factors may impact his/her experiences at school.

Submitted By: Eileen Neville Marceau, Tabor Academy, Marion, MA

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