Books·Canadian

A Song for China

A Song for China is a middle-grade book by Ange Zhang.

Ange Zhang

This is the fascinating story of how a young Chinese author, Guang Weiran, a passionate militant from the age of 12, fought, using art, theater, poetry and song, especially the famous Yellow River Cantata — the anthem of Chinese national spirit — to create a socially just China. Set during the period of the struggle against the Japanese and the war against the Kuomintang in the 1920s and 1930s, this book, written and illustrated by Guang Weiran's award-winning artist son, Ange Zhang, illuminates a key period in China's history. The passion and commitment of the artists who were born under the repressive weight of the Japanese occupation, the remnants of the decaying imperial order and the times of colonial humiliation are inspiring.

Zhang's words and wood-block style of art tell us the story of his father's extraordinary youth and very early rise to prominence due to his great talent with words. We see and hear the intensity of what it meant to be alive at such a significant moment in the history of China, a country that understands itself as the heir to one of the greatest civilizations the world has ever known. The humiliations and social injustice the Chinese people had endured in the colonial period were no longer bearable. And yet there were major factional differences between those who wanted to create a modern China. Ange's words and art paint the picture for us through his father's story, accompanied by sidebars that explain the historical context.

The book ends in a burst of glorious colour and song, with the words of Yellow River Cantata in Mandarin, as well as newly translated into English. This great song turns 80 years old in 2019, and will be sung and performed by huge orchestras and choirs around the world, as the Chinese diaspora has embraced the cantata as its own. (From Groundwood Books)

A Song for China is for readers aged 10 and up.

A Song for China is available in Sept. 2019.

Ange Zhang is an award-winning animator and illustrator of children's books.

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