Bronze and Sunflower

Bronze and Sunflower

Book - 2017
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Sunflower is an only child, and when her father is sent to the rural Cadre School, she has to go with him. Her father is an established artist from the city and finds his new life of physical labor and endless meetings exhausting. Sunflower is lonely and longs to play with the local children in the village across the river. When her father tragically drowns, Sunflower is taken in by the poorest family in the village, a family with a son named Bronze. Until Sunflower joins his family, Bronze was an only child, too, and hasn’t spoken a word since he was traumatized by a terrible fire. Bronze and Sunflower become inseparable, understanding each other as only the closest friends can. Translated from Mandarin, the story meanders gracefully through the challenges that face the family, creating a timeless story of the trials of poverty and the power of love and loyalty to overcome hardship. Includes an historical note.
Publisher: Somerville, MA : Candlewick Press, 2017
Edition: First U.S. edition
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9780763688165
0763688169
Branch Call Number: Ju F Cao
Alternative Title: Bronze & Sunflower

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PimaLib_SamR Aug 01, 2017

Bronze and Sunflower by Cao Wenxuan focuses on the special bond between two children (one mute, one orphaned) during Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution. Sent to the countryside by the government Sunflower’s father learns to farm the land with other city dwellers. Following the loss of her father, Sunflower declines the offer to be adopted by the wealthiest family in the village, and accepts that of the poorest family. Though the parents and grandmother dote on Sunflower, it is Bronze who uses his strength and ingenuity to make Sunflower’s life as comfortable as possible.
The novel’s structure is a series of vignettes. The story moves forward via the forces of hardship and generosity. Hardships abound: hunger, infestations, bitter cold. Generosity through self-sacrifice is demonstrated by many of Bronze’s actions. For instance, when the decision for who will go to school arrives, (because school is not free and they are poor), Bronze devises a scheme resembling the drawing of straws which he rigs so that Sunflower will win, no matter what. In return, Sunflower helps Bronze who is ashamed by his illiteracy learn to read and write.
My pleasure from this book derives from my desire to experience other cultures. Since foreign languages are alluring to me, the fact that the author included some Chinese characters with their meanings as part of the novel was an added reward. At the end of the book, the author included a Historical Note about the Cultural Revolution to help the reader better understand the setting.

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brangwinn
Jul 05, 2017

It is the details that create pictures in the mind, and the translation of this children’s book from Chinese has been able to capture the essence of rural life in the Cultural Revolution. The poverty, the harrowing plight of losing all (including your home) and the enduring strength and unselfishness of family loyalty. The pace is leisurely, but that’s refreshing as we watch the two children, Bronze and Sunflower grow. The reader is introduced to cultural differences such as the respect given to the elderly, and the importance of education.

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dianerosenberger
Jul 29, 2017

dianerosenberger thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

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