Ideas for Learners Promoting Literacy, Inquiry, and Meaningful Learning Experiences

Revolution is Not a Dinner Party

by Ying Chang Compestine


Book Summary

Nine-year-old Ling is the daughter of two doctors in China in 1972. She might wish for a new shirt or to please her mother more often, but her life is mostly happy and easy.  When Chairman Mao comes to power and one of his political officers moves in next door, life changes drastically for Ling and everyone around her.  Neighbors disappear, food is rationed, and no one is safe from accusations.
Revolution is Not a Dinner Party book cover
Revolution is Not a Dinner Party

Book Review

This book moves quickly and holds student interest.  There are many complex concepts, and many readers may not have any prior knowledge about them, but Ling's story is told in an accessible way. The threats are disturbing, but the book avoids graphic depictions or extreme incidents. 

Topics and Themes for this book:

  • Cultural Revolution
  • Poverty vs. Wealth; Class Issues
  • China in 1972
  • Standing Up for What's Right
  • Courage
  • Social Systems

Discussion Questions for this book:

The best discussion questions, of course, are generated by and contemplated by readers. These questions are designed to avoid major spoilers about the book, and to provide a starting point for teachers, parents, and student reading groups.

**Questions Coming Soon**

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