Little Soldiers by Lenora Chu audiobook

Little Soldiers: An American Boy, a Chinese School, and the Global Race to Achieve

By Lenora Chu
Read by Emily Woo Zeller

HarperAudio, HarperCollins 9780062367853
11.50 Hours Unabridged
Format: Digital Download (In Stock)
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In the spirit of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Bringing up Bébé, and The Smartest Kids in the World, a hard-hitting exploration of China’s widely acclaimed yet insular education system—held up as a model of academic and behavioral excellence—that raises important questions for the future of American parenting and education. When students in Shanghai rose to the top of international rankings in 2009, Americans feared that they were being "out-educated" by the rising super power. An American journalist of Chinese descent raising a young family in Shanghai, Lenora Chu noticed how well-behaved Chinese children were compared to her boisterous toddler. How did the Chinese create their academic super-achievers? Would their little boy benefit from Chinese school? Chu and her husband decided to enroll three-year-old Rainer in China’s state-run public school system. The results were positive—her son quickly settled down, became fluent in Mandarin, and enjoyed his friends—but she also began to notice troubling new behaviors. Wondering what was happening behind closed classroom doors, she embarked on an exploratory journey, interviewing Chinese parents, teachers and education professors, and following students at all stages of their education. What she discovered is a military-like education system driven by high-stakes testing, with teachers posting rankings in public, using bribes to reward students who comply, and shaming to isolate those who do not. At the same time, she uncovered a years-long desire by government to alleviate its students’ crushing academic burden and make education friendlier for all. The more she learns, the more she wonders: Are Chinese children—and her son—paying too high a price for their obedience and the promise of future academic prowess? Is there a way to appropriate the excellence of the system but dispense with the bad? What, if anything, could Westerners learn from China’s education journey? Chu’s eye-opening investigation challenges our assumptions and asks us to consider the true value and purpose of education.

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Summary

Summary

In the spirit of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Bringing up Bébé, and The Smartest Kids in the World, a hard-hitting exploration of China’s widely acclaimed yet insular education system—held up as a model of academic and behavioral excellence—that raises important questions for the future of American parenting and education.

When students in Shanghai rose to the top of international rankings in 2009, Americans feared that they were being "out-educated" by the rising super power. An American journalist of Chinese descent raising a young family in Shanghai, Lenora Chu noticed how well-behaved Chinese children were compared to her boisterous toddler. How did the Chinese create their academic super-achievers? Would their little boy benefit from Chinese school?

Chu and her husband decided to enroll three-year-old Rainer in China’s state-run public school system. The results were positive—her son quickly settled down, became fluent in Mandarin, and enjoyed his friends—but she also began to notice troubling new behaviors. Wondering what was happening behind closed classroom doors, she embarked on an exploratory journey, interviewing Chinese parents, teachers and education professors, and following students at all stages of their education.

What she discovered is a military-like education system driven by high-stakes testing, with teachers posting rankings in public, using bribes to reward students who comply, and shaming to isolate those who do not. At the same time, she uncovered a years-long desire by government to alleviate its students’ crushing academic burden and make education friendlier for all. The more she learns, the more she wonders: Are Chinese children—and her son—paying too high a price for their obedience and the promise of future academic prowess? Is there a way to appropriate the excellence of the system but dispense with the bad? What, if anything, could Westerners learn from China’s education journey?

Chu’s eye-opening investigation challenges our assumptions and asks us to consider the true value and purpose of education.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

Little Soldiers is a book that will endure. With honesty and a terrific sense of humor, Lenora Chu has produced not only an intimate portrait of raising a family far from home but also the most lucid and grounded account of modern Chinese education that I’ve ever seen. She brilliantly tests our notions of success and creativity, grit and talent, and never shrinks from her conclusions.” Evan Osnos, National Book Award–winning author of Age of Ambition
“I couldn’t put this book down. Little Soldiers asks us to think deeply about what we value and what we want for our children: academic success, workplace success, group achievement, individual achievement, creativity, love of learning. It’s a game changer that challenges our tendency to see education practices in black and white.” Madeline Levine, PhD, New York Times bestselling author
“The American and Chinese ways of educating children are approaching a head-on collision, begging the question ‘Which system best prepares kids for success?’ In Little Soldiers, Lenora Chu deploys her journalistic inquiry and her motherly heart to investigate the attributes that underlie this urgent question. Chu’s fascinating and important book is necessary reading for educators, parents, and anyone interested in shaping the character and capabilities of the next generation of Americans.” Julie Lythcott-Haims, New York Times bestselling author
“The lively anecdotes, scenes, and conversations that Chu relates while describing her encounters with the Chinese education system will amuse or appall Western readers.” Publishers Weekly
“This engaging narrative is personalized by Chu’s often humorous recollections of attending American schools as the daughter of immigrants. Little Soldiers offers fascinating peeks inside the world’s largest educational system and at the future intellectual ‘soldiers’ American kids will be facing.” Booklist
“An informative, personal view of the Chinese and their educational system that will have many American readers cringing at the techniques used by the Chinese to create perfect students.” Kirkus Reviews

Reviews

Reviews

Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, CD, MP3 CD
Runtime: 11.50
Audience: Adult
Language: English