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The Wu (Woo) family lives in the countryside and is 15 minutes from Shiping, (Shee-peng)in Chongqing Province. It is a rural area in the Southern of China. Here the 1 Child rule does not apply and having 2 children are allowed. On the back outside cover there is a family tree which starts with the Grandparents Ba Jiu (Ba-Jee-oo) age 59, & Yu Xian (Yoo Shee-en) 57, their grown boys Wen De (When-Dee) 30 & Wen Bin (When-Bin) 25, their wives Jiang Chun ( Jee-en Choon) 28, Rong 25, and their children Dong (only son 8), Xi(Shee) 3 and Xue (Shway) who is also 3.
Contents of the book are:
Shows a map of China and then gives basic information on China. The only thing that is not current is the number of people living in China as of now. On a map of China it shows Shiping as being in the Southern part of China and being practically across from Hong Kong. The book does not mention what province you'd find Shiping in,so I had to find it myself. Shiping is in Chongqing Province and in all the books I've found this is the 1st that did not mention the province.
Meet the Wu Family -
Shows the Wu family photo which is also shown on the cover and gives information on there family such as: the family members who live in the home, square footage of their home, workweek hours for the grown-ups, their most valued possessions - for the Ba Jiu the patriarch of the family it's his TV and for Dong one of his grandson it's his bicycle and the family's income $3,300 per year.
Also gives information on the 1 child rule and that rural families may have 2 children. It only states that this rules is set in place because China is so crowded.
Wu House -
The Wu family lives within 15 minutes walking to the nearest village called Shiping. Tells of their home having a living room, kitchen, 3 bedrooms and several storerooms.Outside their home is a sheltered area for their pigs and a pond stocked with fish. They have no running water so they must gather their every day from a nearby well and do their washing in a small pool. They all love sitting at night and watching the families color tv and electric fans at night to keep them cool and mosquito curtains to keep the mosquitos from biting them at night.
Food & Cooking-
The Wu family grows most of their own food themselves. They also pickle or dry food like beans, fish and cabbage in big jars. They eat rice at every meal which is what families in the Southern part of China eat, while in Northern China families eat more noodles. Rice grows easier in Southern part of China. Meat is too expensive and sometimes they eat fish. Food is cooked in huge metal wok and both grandparents
cook. Food is cooked in bite sized pieces because it easier to cook this way food cooks easier this way and also saves fuel.
Wu's at work - farmers and fisherman
The Wu's and their close neighbors share the fish in a pond. It is hard work to keep the fish well fed and to watch them at night from people who'll try to steal them from the pond. The woman take care of children and also work. There are pigs to take care of,housework, washing cleaning, crops such as oranges, vegetable gardens - rice, onions and cabbages. They carry large baskets with bamboo baskets to market to sell their vegetables. During harvesting and planting time the family works from dawn til dusk and the grandparents take care of their 3 grandchildren.
School & Play
Dong goes to school is Shiping and leaves while it's still dark outside to get to school. He comes home for lunch each day. His school does not have much money for furniture and playground equipment. Each day he does daily class exercises, math and learns Chinese characters. Dong loves to play, read Kung Fu books and comic books. His sister and cousin Xi & Xue are too young to go to school. They get to play while their mothers work.
The Wu family has little spare time, but when they do they love to watch TV at night. Going to town is special and something they get to do every now and then. They don't have a lot of money. Both Rong and Jian Chun make their families clothes. They get new ideas on clothes to make when they go to town or sometimes get their haircut at a hairdresser.
They are happy with their life and have been able to buy things to make their lives easier like a TV, radios, fans and some new furniture. Yu Xian the martriach, would like to have a washing machine and refrigerator. But the sons think new tools and supplies for farming and fishing would be better. They are able to put money in the bank for their family's future which they are very proud of.
There is a pronunciation guide included for the words of the family names and the Shiping village. Also included is a glossary which includes the words bamboo, chopsticks, communists, courtyard, emperor, firecrackers,fuel, kung fu, mosquitoes, noodles, pickle, populations and traditional. And there are 5 other books on more information on China as well as an index on the last page.
What also makes this book unique is the photos which all have been taken by the author Julia Waterlow. Many of the photos are from the main family photo and then she's taken parts of that photo to focus on. On those photos it shows the entire picture in a smaller box and then shows you where on the photo this shot came from. Also unique is that the family wanted to show all of their belongings in their family photo. It would be a good book for a book report since life is unchanged in rural parts of China. This family has a lot of nice things some families do not have, but have been chosen for this book because they are a typical Chinese family in terms of income, number of children, lifestyle and housing.
It would be nice to have this book updated and maybe also a similar book on a family in a larger city. I think it is important to show children how life is in China and other places in the world. To see how different and how a like their lives are. The world is a big place, but people no matter what language they speak, color of skin, where they live are basically all the same. We all work hard, love families, part of communities and have a heritage.
This book is also part of a series of books called Families Around the World and include: Bosnia, Brazil, Ethiopia, Germany, Guatemala, Iraq, Japan, South Africa and Vietnam.Family from China Hb (Families Around the World) Overview
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