Contact PMSDirections to PMSSite Map

pmslibrary@piedmont.k12.ca.us Subscribe to my updates

Posts Tagged «China»

Lang Lang: Playing with Flying Fingers

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

lang langby Lang Lang with Michael French.  p. 215  Grades 5-8

Would you think that watching Tom and Jerry cartoons could inspire you to become one of the world’s greatest pianists?  Well, that’s what happened to famous pianist Lang Lang.  When he was three years old, he loved watching cartoons, especially Tom and Jerry.  In one cartoon episode, Tom, the cat, is dressed up in a tuxedo and playing a concert piano.  He awakens little Jerry, the mouse, who has been sleeping on the strings, and then the mischief begins with Jerry jumping out of the piano and onto the keys.   The cartoon made young Lang Lang realize how much fun playing the piano could be, and in his imagination, he was Tom one minute and Jerry the next.  By the time he was five years old, he was winning major competitions.   His memoir not only tells of his passion for music, but also of the very long hours of practice and work.  He was born in Shenyang, China to poor parents.  His father was determined that Lang Lang would be a famous pianist and put tremendous pressure on his son to excel.  At times heartbreaking, this memoir is a must read for any aspiring musician.

Connections:  You might also enjoy these music biographies:  John Lennon:  All I Want Is the Truth; The Voice that Changed a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights; Lives of the Musicians:  Good Times, Bad Times (And What the Neighbors Thought); and Johann Sebastian Bach:  And the Art of Baroque Music.   To see a video of Lang Lang performing, check out this link.  We apologize for the brief commercial.

Snow Falling in Spring

Monday, May 4th, 2009

snow falling in springby Moying Li, p. 176 – Grades 6-9

At the start of her autobiography, Moying Li is living happily in Beijing with her well-educated, extended family in a large house surrounding an open courtyard.  During the transformation of the Great Leap Forward the courtyard contains a huge brick furnace and family and friends work endlessly to melt down scrap metal to produce steel.  The Cultural Revolution bring changes that the author first tries to embrace then needs to protect herself from.  The Red Guards attack her teachers, send her mother to the countryside to teach,  take her father off to a labor camp and destroy his library.  Throughout the book, Moying Li’s dedication to her family, friends and education is never compromised.

Connection:  For further reading on this time period in China’s history, read the memoir, The Red Scarf Girl by Ji-Li Jiang or the fiction title, Revolution is Not a Dinner Party by Ying Chang Compestine.  –CRW