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The House Baba Built: An Artist's Childhood in China

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  • Posted October 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    gracefully written by Ed Young

    Reviewed by Rita V for Readers Favorite

    The House Baba Built, an Artist's Childhood in India is gracefully written by Ed Young. War was spreading into Shanghai, and Baba wanted to move the family to somewhere safe to be out of harm's way. Baba, an engineer, made an agreement to build a grand brick house, but because Baba could not afford to buy land, there had to be an agreement made that his family could live there for only twenty years. Baba, Ma and their children moved into the grand house only to be followed by many other family members and guests to whom they'd given refuge. The children relished in everyday life by using their imaginations and making up fun games to play to occupy their time. Food was harder to come by, and finding the little miracles in everyday life was what kept the family strong. Soon, the war planes began to fly over, the family could hear bombs detonating all around them and would receive medical supplies by air. They would have to find the courage to stay strong and work together as a family unit to survive within the walls of the house that Baba built.

    Ed Young writes a very powerful memoir of his childhood in Shanghai, China during the 1930's. The cover and illustrations are truly unique and captured my interest immediately. Contained within the brilliant illustrations were fold-out pages, hand sketches, paper art, photos, time-lines and bamboo backgrounds. I loved the neat way that the author displayed each individual page, almost like a family scrapbook. I wanted to know all about Baba and his family, the Shanghai culture and their empowering struggles. The plot flowed smoothly, and the words were easy to comprehend. This is a wonderful history lesson to share with any growing child and showcases how important family truly is. Most of all, I loved the inspiring message behind this book which is that crisis does carry a blessing within its curse, but it is up to us to find it. Baba gives his children a sense of security, pride, and honor in this wonderful memoir. The house that Baba built is, in fact, much more than a house!

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