Free education, available for all, is something we take for granted here in Canada, and something kids often consider a nuisance. And I remember feeling the same way :) But that isn't the case in many places, including China.
|School exercise in Guangdong, China|
Photo Credit: Steve Monty
|School in rural China|
Photo Credit: Sameer Vasta
Below are two books, the first a picture book, the second an edited diary of a teenager, both true stories, and both bringing about interesting discussion about education and opportunities, or the lack thereof.
Ruby's Wish by Shirin Yim
This picture book is a historical story based on the true story of the author's grandmother. Ruby is an engaging character, a young Chinese girl who lives in a wealthy household, and has the opportunity to attend grade school. However, the expectation is that she marry once she graduates, while her brothers attend university. Not content with this, Ruby does manage to persuade her grandfather, the patriarch who makes these decisions, to allow her to attend. The story emphasizes her blessings as well as her challenges, which can lead to some interesting discussions. Elle found it difficult to wrap her head around the idea of being denied simply because of being a girl. It was a lovely, inspiring story, with sweet illustrations we all enjoyed.
The Diary of Ma Yan: The Struggles and Hopes of a Chinese Schoolgirl edited by Pierre Haski.
“No more money for school this year. I’m back in the house and I work the land in order to pay for my brothers’ education. When I think of the happy times at school, I can almost imagine myself there. How I want to study! But my family can’t afford it..” – Ma Yan, May 2, 2001
Books are a wonderful way to experience new worlds and ideas. Our house is filled with books, most of which are borrowed from our public library. Public libraries are an incredible resource, making books accessible to everyone, and we highly encourage everyone to discover theirs. If you are hoping to build your own home library, I've made it easy by linking book titles to Amazon.com. Please note that I have become affiliated with them, which means that if you make a purchase, you are also supporting this website.