June 20

‘Chinese Cinderella’ by Adeline Yen Mah

“One day, you’ll show the world what you’re made of.”

-Ye Ye, Chinese Cinderella.

 Chinese CinderellaDo you like crying?

Do you like actual true stories?

Then this is the story for you!


Chinese Cinderella is a true story by Adeline Yen Mah. This story is set in China, where we follow our main character Adeline Yen Mah and her horrible life with her family as they do horrible, horrible things to her, especially her Niang. As she tries to impress her father, her brothers and sister get jealous, beat her and hurt her.


My favourite character has to be Adeline and how she lives this horrible life, trying to be happy along the way. Turning her story into a book shows that Adeline has a lot of courage in her.


This story is full of sad and suspenseful moments and isn’t afraid of making you surprised. This book is perfect for people who like true stories and sad stories, though it should be for ages at least over 13. It’s an amazing book that you’ll surely enjoy! So next time you’re in the library make sure you look for this book. I promise you it’s not a disappointment.

Review by Analiese S., Year 8


Chinese Cinderella is a story about the author Adeline Yen Mah’s terrible childhood and how her parents and siblings treated her like she was a slave; as though she didn’t exist. In the first chapter the characters Aunt BaBa and Adeline were introduced. We also learn that Adeline’s mother had died from child birth. The Aunt had a shoe box full of memories of her mother after Adeline’s father forced everyone to get rid of photos.

Adeline’s family moved a lot but in chapter 1 the first place she lived was her birth place in Tianjin, China. Soon she moved away and lived in Shanghai with her new step mother Niang and two step siblings. Niang was a horrible French woman but the step siblings were nice and kind but sadly weren’t allowed to see the father’s side of the family. Soon Adeline had to go to boarding school for around two years and soon was rescued by Niang’s sister.

Niang is one of the main characters of the story and she is a cruel and rude woman who married Adeline’s father who was kind but now he is forced around by Niang. Adeline’s big sister was the prankster but sadly went under Niang’s spell and acted cruelly to her real family. Adeline’s three brothers are also cruel to her but Big Brother No.2 is the heartful one to Adeline and is technically the kindest one there.

I liked the story because I can just imagine how hard it could have been and how cruel the family was to them, My family is kind and playful to me showing that I have a lot.

If I were to recommend this novel to someone I would recommend it to my friend Tamara because she is very good at reading and I know she would understand the story. I would also recommend this to 12 and 13-year-old students because 10 and under wouldn’t quite understand and 14 and over might get bored of it quite easily.

Madeline W., Year 8

November 26

‘Chinese Cinderella’ by Adeline Yen Mah

Chinese Cinderella“If you had not been born, Mama would still be alive. She died because of you. You are bad luck.”

Yen Jun-ling was born into the life of an unwanted, unloved child. Her mother died giving birth to her, and her siblings constantly blame her for this. Her father barely even knows her name, and her new stepmother Niang dislikes her stepchildren from the second she enters their lives. Yet, there is hope for Yen Jun-ling in the form of her academic prowess.

In a struggle to gain her father’s attention, and please the family members who still dearly love her, Yen strives for utmost perfection in her work and constantly works on her homework. Despite the cruel tricks of her brothers and sisters, and the harsh favouritism Niang gives to her own children, Yen pulls through the struggles and continues to excel in her work. Yet, her friends at school never know what she hides behind her cheerful smiles. They know nothing of the uncaring family she visits at home every day, who force her to walk home during typhoon-like weather without a second thought. Her hope in life, being strong in front of others and being untouched by the cruelties of life is soon displayed in her hobby – writing.

This true story tells of a girl who was once portrayed as a demonic witch of bad luck, who strives to her limits to prove that she is more than just a waste of space. Her willpower and hope is ever inspiring and astounding to read. The reader will smile when she smiles, cry when she cries, and feel the same emotions of pain, anger and discomfort when she does. Just when everything seems to be fine, another tormenting turmoil crashes into her life, yet she lives to tell the tale.

Chinese Cinderella is perhaps the best book I’ve read that retells a true story. The losses and victories of a small girl born with many burdens shows how anyone can pull through in the toughest of times. A motivating story like this is recommended for teenagers and adults alike, but females would perhaps relate to the story more than males.

Demetra P., Year 9

May 19

‘The Vow’, by Kim & Krickitt Carpenter with Dana Wilkerson

the vow“I love you, Krickitt.”

“I love you too”.

One autumn morning in 1992, Kim Carpenter called Jammin Sports-wear and heard a chirpy and upbeat voice, like Krickitt’s. The first conversation Kim had with Krickitt wasn’t their last. They both wouldn’t only talk about purchases. Kim couldn’t stop thinking about this girl named Krickitt. He wanted to know more.

Kim lived in New Mexico, coaching The Highland’s University baseball team and Krickitt lived in California and practiced Gymnastics from kindergarten each afternoon in her mother’s gym.

A few months had passed since their first conversation and now they were spending more time talking to each other. The conversations with Krickitt were getting longer. They began to write letters back and forth to each other. In February 1993, Krickitt and Kim decided they would meet and spend time together and two months later Krickitt made the decision to go to New Mexico. Eventually Kim decided he would propose to Krickitt, two weeks after she returned home.

Kim and Krickitt’s life together was broken, as a car wreck left Krickitt with a head injury, keeping her in a coma for weeks, but when she finally awoke she had no idea who Kim was.

I really enjoyed the book ‘The Vow’ because this true tragic story of romance, kept my eyes glued to the book as each chapter had something of interest to keep you reading. I recommend this story to all people aged 13 and over who are interested in romance and enjoy reading, true story novels. This book has really caught my attention. I’d rate ‘The Vow’ 5 out of 5 stars.

Isabella, Year 9.

November 12

‘In the Sea There are Crocodiles’ by Fabio Geda

In the sea there are crocodiles      Do you want to travel the world? See things you have always dreamt about?

      For Enaitollah Akbari, travelling around the world was not a treat, not something intended, but for this ten year boy, (well, he thinks he’s ten), it is a hard world out there as he is faced with a tragedy nobody wants: having to flee his country in search for freedom, dignity and self respect. He was born in a country where opinions and your own rights are wrong and forbidden.

      In the sea there are crocodiles by Fabio Geda is the true story full of adventure and mischief for an audience of fifteen years to adult.

      I thought this book was very interesting and it was very fascinating reading about a true story of a boy at a young age trying to make a difference for himself and his family. At the beginning of the book it was a bit confusing to figure out what was actually going on. I personally felt that the story was a bit over the place in the beginning but as I gradually read on it made more sense and became really interesting and enjoyable to read probably because some lines in the book that were said by Enaitollah really made me think. Here’s an example:

      “The facts are important. The story is important. It’s what happens to you that changes your life, not where or who you are with.” 

      This made me think of how emotional and hard it really is for people going through this situation or things similar to this. This is a great book and I recommend it to anyone wanting an adventure. I would rate this book a three out of ten.

Monique, Year 9

November 7

‘Chinese Cinderella’ by Adeline Yen Mah

Chinese CinderellaImagine being abused by your parents and feeling unloved. Imagine if your own father couldn’t remember your name. Imagine feeling as if you didn’t belong in your own family. The book Chinese Cinderella tells the true and moving story of a young Chinese girl who experiences all of these things throughout her ‘difficult and painful’ childhood.

  Set in China and Hong Kong, this book perfectly depicts a story of courage and victory over the abuse. Adeline Yen Mah is the fifth child born into a powerful and wealthy family but from the moment she is born, she is mistreated and seen as a nuisance. After her mother dies giving birth to her due to complications after the delivery, her family gives her the label, ‘bad luck’. Adeline grows up feeling responsible for her mother’s death. This is intensified when her father marries a lady who is not so fond of her new husband’s five children. She openly shows her hostility towards the children, in particularly Adeline, whilst greatly favoring her own two children born soon after the marriage. Throughout the book the reader feels Adeline’s pain as she is horrifically abused, the reader feels her determination to make her father proud and joins her on her search to find a place where she belongs. Adeline finds some comfort with her Aunt Baba and Grandfather Ye Ye, but even these comforts are taken away from her. Faced with all of these problems, Adeline engrosses herself in her schoolwork, which she enjoys immensely and strives for academic achievement in the hope of finally making her father proud. 

 This is a book that I think is written exceptionally well. It is extremely gripping and I was immediately engaged; it is the kind of book I could not put down. Adeline Yen Mah’s uses of descriptive language made it extremely easy for me to not only imagine the scene clearly but also to put myself into the situation. The story develops perfectly and keeps the reader enthralled until the very last sentence. It is quite tragic to think that the events in this book actually occurred to a real person. It is one of the books that I didn’t want to end and, after reading the book, I went on to research more about Adeline Yen Mah.

  I would highly recommend this book to a broad target audience – anyone from child to adult could easily become enthralled in this moving autobiography. I would rate the book Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah a 5 out of 5 stars.

Olivia, Year 9


November 4

‘On Two Feet and Wings’ by Abbas Kazerooni

 On Two feet and wings“I was alone in a foreign country and I did not speak the language. I was, quite simply, terrified.”

If this draws your attention, then you will love the eye opening true story ‘On Two Feet and Wings.’

      The book was set in the bloodiest of times during the Iran-Iraq Wars in the 1950s in Tehran. Abbas was very close to turning ten when his whole world was turned upside down. He had to move to Instabul and live all by himself or he would be forced to join the armed force.

      The main character and also the author of this book is Abbas Kazerooni. He had to say goodbye to his friends, family and everything he loved. He soon learnt how to live by his wits, appreciate what he’s got and to watch his back.

      This book is about a young boy who was sent away to be safe from the bloodiest war yet, the Iran-Iraq War. The book was based on a true story about one courageous young boy, Abbas. He had to grow up fast and basically skip his whole childhood; he was living in a run down hotel all by himself at the age of nine. He managed to find a job, navigated his way through the city, found the best rates for exchanging money and even found himself a friend!

     I really liked this book because it was unbelievable how independent Abbas was at such a young age. It kept me wanting to read more. This book was in no way predictable, unlike other books that I have read in the past. I just couldn’t put it down!

      I would recommend this book to teenagers and young adults from the ages of 13 and 20 or anyone at all that would enjoy an adventure packed, page turning story!

     Tanay, Year 9


     With his 10th birthday approaching, a young man by the name Abbas Kazerooni has to leave everyone and everything that he loves behind when the thought that he may be taken away to war kicks in.

     This story is set in three different countries that include Tehran, Istanbul and England. So it begins, the life of a nine year old boy who does what would seem impossible for any other ordinary child.        Abbas is living what seems to be a normal life until one day his father comes home and tells him he can’t go to school. With growing curiosity, Abbas began to eavesdrop on his parents’ conversations. Soon enough he was told he had to leave his home. He and his mother were to leave for Istanbul where they would be safe, but unfortunately that proposal didn’t go to plan…

     Abbas is a well-behaved kid who likes to have fun and play, but he is also very mature for his age, for example, the way he handled emotional moments and the way he used his age to his advantage. Not only is he the main character in this novel, but he is also a very interesting one. His father, ‘Baba’ to Abbas, was a well brought up man who was a very rich and important man until the government took away almost everything he owned. Further into the book, Abbas meets a man named Murat, a stubborn and very sarcastic man who turns out to Abbas’ closest companion.

     A great read, I would say, a book filled with emotions and adventures. I enjoyed this book a lot because it is based on a true story! It really opened up my mind to the fact that real children around the world would have to go through what Abbas went through. I highly recommend this book to anyone above the age of 12, only because the storyline would be hard to understand if you were younger. As it is such a good read, I would rate this book a 4 out of 5.

 Grace, Year 9


‘On Two Feet And Wings’, the extraordinary true story experienced and written by Abbas Kazerooni. The story is set in multiple surroundings such as England, Afghanistan and Istanbul. Meet Abbas, a 9 year old smart and courageous boy with a future depending on his actions. He survives and travels on his own night and day, with the voice of a mature young boy. His thoughts will leave you crying after every page. If you love true stories that grip you with suspense, ‘On Two Feet And Wings’…is ‘The Book’!

     Laws vary in certain countries, so close to his tenth birthday, Abbas has to leave everything he loves to escape being recruited into the Iran-Iraq war. With his father not being able to leave the country and his mother’s passport declined, Abbas has to travel alone to Istanbul and apply for a visa to England, and from now on has to learn to live by his wits and watch his back. However, with the help of his hotel owner Murat, generous strangers, and the support of his parents, Abbas is helped through the challenging and gut wrenching times. But living in a rundown city at the age of 9, not understanding the language, he is defenseless to his weaknesses, leaving him an easy target for thieves and criminals.

       I was certainly attached to this book by the way that Abbas has very well described each scene in detail, each country’s lifestyle and people’s emotions. The descriptive language made it very easy for me to visualize what characters and settings looked like. The story’s suspense always made me wonder what was going to happen next and by the end made me want to read the next sequence. I recommend this book to both adults and children within the ages of 13 & 25, who are attracted to factual, explanatory stories and enjoy reading secretive, thrilling and inspirational novels. ‘On Two Feet And Wings’ is the most motivating book I have ever read and that should have a movie made out of it. This book is a ‘must read’ and, I’d rate the book ‘On Two Feet And Wings’ 4 out of 5 stars.

Gaby, year 9


     One boy alone and afraid. Can he survive or will he crack under pressure?

     Does this get your attention? If so, then I recommend that you read this book for yourself.

     Abbas is a happy 10-year-old boy living a normal life. Next thing he knows the government is trying to get all the boys his age to help fight in the war. His parents pay for their little boy to leave the country before he is taken to go in the war. He arrives in a foreign Istanbul with a language that he does not speak or understand. His goal is to get to England before running out of money or worse. He has only one person he can trust in this new country, that is the doorman of his hotel. His names is Murat. He helps Abbas by taking care of him and helping him get the essentials he needs to survive in this new country

     I enjoyed the story because of how hard Abbas had to suffer to survive and how he became a responsible and self efficient young boy, even though he was only 10 years old. The book’s language got me imagining how hard it would have been to find places in a foreign country let alone not speaking or understanding the language that it spoken in the country.

     I recommend this book for all ages and genders because it shows how hard this boy has to suffer to get the essentials like food and water the things we have in Australia for granted. This book has heart and mind and true story aspects in it because heart and mind is how hard he has to think and use his mind to get what is in his heart, which is safety and security from a loved one. Based on what I think of the book, On Two feet and wings I rate it 4/5 stars

     Jordan, Year 9.        

June 7

‘In the sea there are crocodiles’ by Fabio Geda

 In the sea there are crocodiles    This international bestseller is the true story of Enaiatollah Akbari.

     Enaiatollah is the main character of ‘In The Sea There Are Crocodiles’. He lives in a small village in Afghanistan, which he calls ‘Nava’ which means ‘gutter’. In early 2000, Afghanistan falls into Taliban rule. This makes great changes in his life.

     Enaiatollah escapes from his family and home with his mother to the border of Pakistan. Then one night, while his mother is putting him to bed, she tells him three things that he must never do in life: don’t use drugs, don’t use weapons and don’t steal.The next morning, the ten-year-old boy wakes up and finds out that his mother has disappeared. He knows that he is on the border of Pakistan and he is alone.

     Now, starts the remarkable adventure of the ten-year old boy from Afghanistan to Italy to gain political asylum. His five-year journey takes him through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and Greece, border crossings, trekking across bitterly cold mountain pathways for days, and being stuffed into the bottom of a truck.  Going through all these unimaginable hardships and challenges, will he find a place that he will call home? Will he find happiness in the end? Will he find his family?

     His journey searching for a place called home has become the universal bestseller for teenagers. This story based on Enaiatollah Akbari’s actual life has been categorized fiction because in some parts of the story there are fictional details. But it is a really heart wrenching story that you will never forget. The best part of the book is the childlike perspective the author has written. It helps us teenagers to get more engaged with the book more easily. I truly recommend this book to anyone. You’ll never regret it.  

Ye Jin, Year 8

May 30

‘On Two Feet and Wings’ by Abbas Kazerooni

On Two feet and wings     Imagine living in a life where domination and violence ruled, having to escape from your country during one of Iraq and Iran’s most notorious and bloodthirsty wars, leaving your country, your home, your friends and your family all behind.

This book tells the story of a remarkable young boy, Abbas, who fled his country to make it to his dream location in England. He faces many difficult challenges, witnesses many disturbing scenes and survives many demanding moments.

This book is suitable for children and adults from the age of eight upwards, and gives you a ‘behind the book’ experience of living in a non-democratic, cruel and scary country. It will teach you many life lessons and morals and teach children to never take for granted what they have! I rate this book 9/10 and could read it over and over again. This heartfelt true story of a young boy, whose bravery and courage is tested to the limits, is a breathtaking book which I recommend to all young adults and school based reading activities – an amazing book overall!
Emer, Year 8


Abbas is beaten around, yelled at, hit, mugged, attacked and nearly killed ,all while he is countries away from his family. But he must fight on.


Abbas is an average teenage Persian boy from Tehran when, suddenly, he must travel the world or be forcibly recruited into the Persian army. Abbas is to travel to Istanbul to get a visa for England to escape his inevitable sign up in the army if he stays. At the airport, when Abbas is about to leave with his family, tragically, he is separated from them and is forced to face Istanbul with the clothes on his back (and the couple of thousand US dollars given to him by his father).


He meets a range of people along the way that he befriends quickly, but this isn’t how all his encounters with people unfold. Murat is the receptionist and manager of a hotel Abbas chooses to stay in and Abbas partners with him instantly. Murat is a rather important character who helps Abbas out a lot yet takes advantage of him once he finds out that Abbas is extremely talented in a game called backgammon. Abbas is faced with many challenges in Istanbul, like finding the right people to trust, knowing when he is in a sticky situation and surviving in third world conditions. He is greeted by many dangers including a drunken man who mugs Abbas and nearly kills him.


Nevertheless Abbas is pushed to survive in Istanbul and he does it with…out grace (he wets his pants). Now he must conquer England but I’m not going to tell you any more. If you’re curious, get the book!


On Two Feet and Wings is a great story full of action and emotion. I would strongly recommend this book to you (yes, you reading this) because this book is really gripping. I would rate this book 9 out of 10 stars. I know you’ve heard this a million times from other blogs by now but I couldn’t put it down!

Wesley, Year 8

May 28

‘Chinese Cinderella’ by Adeline Yen Mah

Chinese Cinderella      Can I see my mum? No I can’t. She died three weeks after I was born. I just wanted to be a normal child who lived with her mum. Other than that, my other siblings hated me. They blamed me for our mum’s death and they have never forgiven me.

     ‘Chinese Cinderella’ is a heart-warming story based on real life. Adeline Yen Mah was a kind, intelligent and caring young girl who loved her family very much even though they did not love her back. Reading this story you can go through the pain just like Adeline with her non-loving family. Adeline won many awards from topping the class in school. Adeline Yen Mah cared for her pet duck PLT as she knew he was the only one that loved her.

     If you are a 13 year old girl that loves to read real life and heart warming stories then this is the book for you. ‘Chinese Cinderella’ warmed my heart, how much Adeline believed in herself, especially in her goals in life. I also felt sad when her other siblings did not love her after her mum died. I think that this book is a great way to see how other people live in the world and to see how much they are going through with their family.  

Savana, Year 8


     “Do you have a picture of my dead mama?” Yen Jun-Ling asks her auntie, as she has never seen her mother before.

     The novel Chinese Cinderella By Adeline Yen Mah is a true story that I absolutely loved. It makes you appreciate everything that you have in life. The book is a terribly sad book that makes you want to go and hug your mum.

     The main character is a little Chinese girl named Yen Jun-Ling. Yen Jun-Ling’s mother dies giving birth to her, which leaves her aunt Baba to look after her with the rest of the family. All of her siblings blame her for her mother’s death. They say that she is “bad luck” to the family. When Yen Jun-Ling thinks to herself that she wants to make her family proud of her she comes home with a silver pin on her shirt, which makes her family proud.

     I believe that this book is suitable for females more than males between the ages of 13 years to 16 years as this novel has a lot of meaning behind it and shows a lot of emotion for a more mature age. I rate this novel an 8 out of 10 as I enjoyed reading this novel as the emotion made it a good novel. I also liked this book because you learn a lot from it about people’s lives. I recommend that you read this novel if you enjoy true, sad, emotional stories.


Abbie D, Year 8


     If you had not been born, Mama would have still been alive. She died because of you. You are bad luck.”


     When Yen Jun Ling was only 3 days old, her mother died from a high fever. Her brothers and sisters never forgave her.

     “Do you have a photo of my dead mama?”

     Yen Jun Ling is a Chinese girl living with her beloved Aunt Baba, father, three brothers, one sister and her dreaded step-mother Niang and her two children.  She is under the demanding control of her sinful stepmother. The only real person that cares about her is her Aunt Baba.

     This is the story of Yen Jun Ling, and her life, filled with hatred, sadness and despair, a story of a Chinese girl living in China in the 1900s, through a civil war at the end of World War 2. 

     I thought that although the story was awfully sad it made me feel grateful to have such as a loving and caring family, unlike Yen Jun Ling. It just goes to show that we must be grateful for the simple things in life because people don’t get it as good as we do. The book was also inspiring to see that even though Yen Jun Ling had a dreadful life she still dragged herself through and tried to look on the positive side of life. I loved the book because Yen Jun Ling had such a hard childhood, but yet she still lives a great life now and she doesn’t let anything get her down.

     I think Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah would be a  story suitable for girls between the ages of 12 and 15. This is because they would understand the novel and would be able to relate the storyline and the life of Yen Jun Ling to their own lives if they are felling left out or unwanted. Even if you don’t feel unwanted this is an awe-inspiring book and a story that everyone should definitely read.

     Georgina F. Year 8


     Within three days of giving birth to me, Adeline Yen Mah, it was all over. My mother had died. Was I going to see her face again? Maybe, but I couldn’t worry about that right now. I had to worry about the rest of my life. Little did I know my life would be tortuous and cruel. My brothers and sisters blamed me for the death of our mama. Would they ever forgive me? My step mum had a sadistic attitude towards me, treating me with open disdain and exclusion. Why was this, you ask? I’m not even quite sure myself!

     Are you the type of person who LOVES to read and could stay up all night reading? Or do you just simply like to read in your spare time? Whichever one it is, I already know this is the novel for you!

     ‘Chinese Cinderella’ is a true story written by Adeline Yen Mah. The book focuses on Adeline’s childhood and the way she was treated by her family. Just by reading this you can imagine what her life was like, but it wasn’t always bad. Adeline would walk to school most days daydreaming about things that were unimaginable; she loved to get the fresh air and to just be able to think. As soon as she arrived at school she blossomed through her academic achievements and her beautiful personality.

I recommend this book to young readers between the ages of 12 and 30 because you’re old enough to understand but still young enough to enjoy. I rate this book a 5/5 and I plead with you to read it because it’s an unforgettable story that will remain with you forever.

Eve, Year 8


Imagine feeling unloved, unwanted, and hated by your whole family. This is what Adeline Yen Mah feels every day. Hated by her step mum and siblings and never acknowledged by her own father, the book ‘Chinese Cinderella’ sounds like it is a fairytale but it is all too real. If you enjoyed ‘Falling Leaves’, ‘Chinese Cinderella’ is definitely the book for you.

When Adeline Yen Mah was born, a tragedy occurred. Her loving mother died and ever since then Adeline had been blamed for her mother’s death. Her father had ordered all photographs of her mother to be destroyed and Adeline was left wondering what her mother had looked like. Shortly after, her father remarried to a woman called Niang who then had two children who she spoiled and favored.


Adeline was treated as though she was worthless and unwanted. Multiple times her step-mother had told her she would never achieve anything but Adeline, against all odds, topped her class and consistently showed her full potential. ‘Chinese Cinderella’ is a heart warming true story about a young girl who, against all chances, achieves her dreams. Adeline shows a great compassion for writing and after being sent away she discovers her true talents.


‘Chinese Cinderella’ is a story of mixed emotions as you receive a true insight into Adeline Yen Mah’s daily life. This book would be suitable for anyone who has ever felt neglected, hated or unwanted. Adeline was hated by her step mum and siblings and never acknowledged by her own father. ‘Chinese Cinderella’ may seem like a fairy tale but it is a true insight into the life of a young girl who is a unloved, unwanted, and hated by her own family. This is a true story about a young girl who was just an ordinary ‘Chinese Cinderella’.

Erin L., Year 8


“Can I see my mum?”


     In the words of Adeline Yen Mah this was just the beginning to a tragic story. Imagine feeling alone, unwanted and told that you were bad luck throughout your life. That is the life of Adeline Yen Mah.

     Adeline’s mother passed away giving birth to her. Because of this, Adeline’s family gave her a life of hardship. Chinese Cinderella is based on Adeline’s longing and battle for acknowledgment. The novel also tells how she overcame the odds to prove her worth. Being the youngest of six children, Adeline attempted to show how a young girl such as herself could be accepted into a world full of negativity and hatred. Being a straight A student without acknowledgement, Adeline’s story shows us how it feels to be neglected, not only as a child, but also as a student. Her father, on the other hand, is the same story, always failing to look after his own daughter.

     Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed Chinese Cinderella. I loved the plot and the photographs throughout the book. The main plot was full of emotional events. Chinese Cinderella taught me not to take things for granted. Some children in the world have families who put them through torture. I would recommend this book to young teens to show them why you shouldn’t take things for granted.

– Tayla G, Year 8

October 9

‘Never Fall Down’ by Patricia McCormick

What sort of book do you pick up at an airport bookshop?

Fortunately for me, in Siem Reap, Cambodia, I chose ‘Never fall Down’ by Patricia McCormick, the story of Arn Chorn-Pond, who today is a peace activist and motivational speaker. McCormick narrates Arn’s story when, as a young Cambodian boy soldier, he is forced to leave his home, to witness horrifying events and make excruciatingly difficult decisions as he firstly flees from the Khmer Rouge, survives by learning to play a musical instrument, and later joins the Khmer as a soldier.

Although the text looks suitable for Upper Primary, the story contains graphic and unflinching details of wartime atrocities, however the violence portrayed is never gratuitous. The complexity of war and the personal choices facing everyday citizens are well portrayed in this unforgettable story – a tiny glimpse into the genocide of two million people in Cambodia’s ‘killing fields’ through the eyes of one boy.

Suitable for Secondary readers and adults.

August 21

‘On Two Feet and Wings’ by Abbas Kazerooni

Abbas leaves his family when he is 9 years old to escape being drafted into the army. He’s alone on the streets of Istanbul, trying to survive. His journey is aided by the kindness of strangers and his innate uncanny sense of who is trustworthy and who is not.

On Two Feet and Wings is the author’s autobiography. It’s highly accessible, harrowing enough but not too graphic, making it highly suitable for upper primary – lower secondary students. In the most graphic scenes, Abbas is beaten up, has a knife held to his throat and fears for his life. But what shines through is not the danger or the destitution, but Abbas’ strength of character and his will to survive. The author’s tone is never condescending, never preaching, but the story holds many lessons for today’s young readers.

This story forms a wonderful adjunct to recent titles dealing with displacement, such as “In the Sea There are Crocodiles” by Fabio Geda, “No Safe Place” by Deborah Ellis and “Mountain Wolf” by Rosanne Hawke (in my view, the latter two books are suitable only for teens and above).

Mrs Osborne

May 4

‘Chinese Cinderella’ by Adeline Yen Mah

If I like the book I read fast, but if I don’t like the book I read slow. When I got the book called Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah and read it, it was fantastic and brilliant.

The book is all about a girl named Adeline Yen Mah and her family said that she is the bad luck for the family because when her mum gave birth to her, her mum died. She has three brothers, one sister and a mean stepmother.

When she is five years old, she had to go to school, and then her sister didn’t wait to her so she just walked home. When she grew up they went to Shanghai to live and then she decided to run for class president and she won because her friend helped her. When she walked home her classmate followed her secretly and her stepmother got angry to her because her classmate surprised Adeline. Her stepmother decided to put Adeline in Tianjin, her place of birth, and she stayed in a boarding school in five or seven months.

I liked the book because it’s a true story and you can learn a lot. I learned to work hard and don’t listen to anyone who lets you down and just believe in yourself, that you can cope with all of the trials that you have. I recommend this book to all of you, as any age can read this book… It is a fantastic book that everyone can read. By Saidel, Year 8


The book, Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah, caught my attention with the first sentence. This true story of an unwanted daughter was one of only a few books that got me excited to read on. I’m not the biggest book reader so finding a book as great as this made me very eager to read. Chinese Cinderella gave me an insight on how people can be so evil and mean to such innocent children. The human behaviour that I witnessed in this book is something I have never come across before.

This book is great for the young teenage girls, such as myself, because we can really relate to the storyline and the emotional sadness of the little girl. This book is extremely sad but also inspiring at the same time. Adeline Yen Mah inspired me the most, as she spent her whole childhood trying to bring great honour to her broken family and prove that she is not bad luck. The catastrophe of her life was when her mother died giving birth to her and now her three brothers and sister blame her for being the cause of their own neglect.

I believe this book would suite teenage girls from the ages of 13-16 years. Chinese Cinderella is full of heartbreak and dramatic tension and will sure make you read on, no matter what page you’re up to. This book will most certainly inspire you in life and fill your heart with happiness.

Sophie, Year 8


Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah

 Chinese Cinderella is a unique book that no one else has made other than Adeline Yen Mah. She has written from true experience as a little girl. This book, Chinese Cinderella, is a heart and mind book but also a sad but true book about a little girl who is made to feel unwanted all her life. One day Adeline Yen Mah was left alone after school waiting for someone to come and pick her up but no one came so she was left to live and surive on her own because her family thinks Adeline is bad luck.

Chinese Cinderella is a sad but true story about a family that doesn’t care about one little girl named Adeline Yen Mah because when her mother dies from giving birth to Adeline, her Nai Nai has died from old age and her dad and stepmother run away Adeline is not the happiest little girl in the world. Adeline’s family has made her to feel unwanted all her life. Chinese Cinderella is a true story about a girl who struggles for acceptance all her life and overcomes the odds to prove her worth. Adeline tells us about how hard her life has been since she was born to the age of fourteen. It’s a unforgettable story. This is a secret story of a unwanted daughter. Every word in Chinese Cinderella is a different picture in your mind and has to be memorised separately. True but sad how does she do it amazing isn’t it.

I really liked Chinese Cinderella because she really tells us how she feels and explains how life can’t always be the happiest times, that people aren’t always lucky. They don’t have all the things like we do: family, TV, food/water etc. I would recommend this book to a teenager that has it all and a person that loves sad but true books. I would not recommend this book to a person that gets sad but maybe I would give it to a another person that is homeless and feels the same it will make them realise that it’s not just them that are suffering.

Olivia, Year 8


5/5 stars
Chinese Cinderella, it’s not a name that makes you quickly want to pick up the book and read it.  That it’s an autobiography also makes it sound boring. The natural reaction to this book would be something like ‘I don’t want to read that, it’s going to be like any other Cinderella book, but the cover and the sentence underneath the title makes you think twice. ‘The secret story of an unwanted daughter’ is what it says under the title. The cover shows a little girl with an innocent face yearning for acceptance. This is what caught my attention.

This book focuses on Adeline’s childhood. The story is set in China at the time of the Second World War but the locations change throughout the book. Adeline was born into a rich and wealthy family but that didn’t change the fact that her life was miserable from the moment she was born. Her mother died after giving birth to her and this phenomenon automatically titled her as a jinx (bad luck) and this made her feel guilty and horrible thinking that it is actually her fault. Her family only makes this feeling worse by ignoring her or blaming her. She had three older brothers and an older sister before her father remarried. Her father had two kids by her stepmother, her fourth brother and a little sister. The third brother, he grandfather and her aunty were the only people who were somewhat kind to her.

Adeline proves to be a brilliant child from the starting sentence. She was the kind of girl who loved school and was eager to learn unlike most kids. Unfortunately her family doesn’t notice or care about her. I think this is what made her such a big achiever. She wanted to prove her worth to her father, wanted people to appreciate her and wanted to be treated as a person. The Japanese were after her father so her father, her stepmother and fourth brother fled to Shanghai, another location in China leaving the rest of her family members there. She achieved more and more in academics and was praised by Aunt Baba (aunty),YeYe (grandfather), third brother and all of her classmates.

After a couple of years she meets her father again and he takes all of the remaining member of the family to Shanghai as well except for Aunt Baba who wanted to stay there for a little longer. Her new home was huge but she was restricted to only the third floor of the house. Her stepmother who she called Niang hated her especially because of her courage to step up and oppose against her. All of the kids except for her own kids (fourth brother and little sister) were restricted to do most things. Fourth brother and little sister could do anything they wanted because they were Niang’s own children. Niang always abused the kids. There were times when Adeline got abused just for using her talents.

Her school life was something any kid would wish for. She moved to a convent in Hong Kong where she was safe but alone. Her Stepmother’s sister was the one who finally remembered her and brought her back to her parents. After that, it was boarding school for her where nobody ever came to visit. She always stood out because of her cleverness and skill but there were always people who despised her. She skipped two or three grades at boarding school and her father finally sees the light and agrees to let her go to London to study medicine just like her older brothers.

Chinese Cinderella really captures the thoughts and feelings and turns them into words to create magic. It is one of the best stories I have ever read. It also snapshots some history in it and shows some of the Chinese customs. A good book has a mixture of ingredients and Chinese Cinderella has the perfect mixture. I recommend it to anyone from the age of 11 who’s into reading. It is one of those book that you just can’t put down and don’t want to finish. This book is a memory that I’ll always cherish forever. Terina, Grade 8


The story ‘Chinese Cinderella’, by Adeline Yen Mah, it is a true story the author wrote about herself. It is a sad but vey interesting book. The story is set in a few different places around the Eastern end of China and the main characters are Adeline, Aunt Baba, her brothers, her father and stepmother and Ye Ye. Adeline is the youngest and least liked of her family. When she was born her Mother passed away two weeks later and her brothers have blamed Adeline for her death ever since. All she has wanted is to know what her real mother looked like, but her father ordered all of her pictures destroyed. Her closest relationship is with her Aunt Baba who looks after her and cares for her all the time. Not long after her mother’s death, her father remarried to Niang and had two more kids. Niang treats her very poorly and she does not like her very much. When Adeline starts school she is very happy and tops her class each week. She loves that life and doesn’t want to get away from it. She is continuingly making her Dad proud, but he is still not convinced she will succeed in life. She wants to prove him wrong. All Adeline wants is to feel accepted in her family, but that is going to be hard to do. Adeline moves schools a lot and has a hard early life but manages to cope. I would rate this book a 4 out of 5 and recommend it to young teenage girls. ‘Chinese Cinderella’ is a great book and you should definitely read it.

Melissa, Year 8

August 12

‘The Happiest Refugee: A Memoir’ by Anh Do

I must be the only person in Australia who is not familiar with Anh Do, which a few visits to YouTube will no doubt fix…nevertheless his memoir was both tragic and funny, humble and most of all uplifting. For any reader who has encountered refugees before, many parts of his story will sound familiar: the harrowing sea voyage, his encounter with racist attitudes in Australia and the family credo to succeed. But pervading it all is Anh’s luminescent smile, his family’s ‘can do’ attitude, helped along by the kindness of strangers wherever they go. It’s a heart-warming story. Most impressive is the family’s attitude to life – to not just survive, but to achieve personal happiness by helping others and by doing whatever you can do best.
‘The Happiest Refugee’ will no doubt be seen as essential reading as part of the Asian literature of new National Curriculum; it has so much to offer. It’s highly readable for both teens and adults, filling in a gap of our migrant history about which teenagers may know little. Timely too, considering Australia’s present refugee debate. Mrs O.
Reserve ‘The Happiest Refugee’ here.

August 12

‘In the sea there are Crocodiles’ by Fabio Geda

One night before putting him to bed, Enaiatollah’s mother tells him three things: don’t use drugs, don’t use weapons, don’t steal. The next day he wakes up to find she isn’t there. They have fled their village in Afghanistan but his mother has decided to return home to her younger children, leaving ten-year-old Enaiatollah alone in Pakistan to fend for himself. In a book that takes a true story and shapes it into a beautiful piece of fiction, Italian novelist Fabio Geda describes Enaiatollah’s remarkable five-year journey from Afghanistan to Italy where he finally managed to claim political asylum aged fifteen.

It’s amazing to think that while I was working, socialising, carrying on with my everyday life, a teenager on the other side of the world was fighting desperately for survival, living through dislocation and fear. For teenagers, this is a life changing story which could shake any complacency or self-interest and change their views of refugees forever.Although translations can sound a bit ‘clunky’, the boy’s voice shines through. Highly recommended for middle teens. Mrs O.
Reserve “In the Sea there are Crocodiles’ here.

June 8

‘Chinese Cinderella’ by Adeline Yen Mah

Chinese Cinderella‘Tell me what my real mother looks like. I can’t picture her face.’

The story ‘Chinese Cinderella’ is a book that makes you appreciate what you have. The main character, Adeline Yen Mah, is a young Chinese girl. Sadly her mother dies giving birth to her. So her family says that she is bad luck and she is made to feel unwelcome in her own home. But luckily when she starts school she feels she can get away from that and enjoy life. After a while Adeline finds out she is topping every class and even skipping a few but her parents are not convinced that she will ever be successful in life. This book is one of those that you feel like jumping inside it and helping out sometimes because Adeline’s stepmother, Niang, treats her like dirt. Even her own father has forgotten her name. The book kind of confused me because Adeline has lots of siblings and calls them big sister and third brother and so on, so I keep forgetting which one is which. I think the age group would be around year 7 to 10 because if you are any younger it won’t make sense and if you’re older than 15 then you might think it’s a bit boring. I rate it a 7/10, It’s a captivating, true story and you should definitely read it.
Kemi year 8

Adeline Yen Mah is the youngest of her family, and the least liked by her family. Her mother passed away shortly after she was born, so her father remarried and had two more kids with Niang, Adeline’s stepmother. Adeline is very close to her Aunt Baba, and is always asking if she could see photos of her late mother. Aunt Baba was very close to Adeline’s mother and was very upset when she passed away. When Adeline started school she always tried to feel accepted into her family, but her older brothers and sister would always take that away from her. Her dad never loved her as much as he loved his other children. When Adeline’s grandmother died everything changed and they had to move to Shanghai, where everything started to go even worse for Adeline, and her whole life turned upside down. Rebeccah, Year 8

May 5

‘Chinese Cinderella’ by Adeline Yen Mah

Chinese CinderellaAdeline Yen Mah ‘s mother died when she was born and her brothers and sisters blamed her for making their mum die. Adeline felt bad about herself and had bad luck and that made her feel unwanted all her life. Then she thought to herself, “I can make all of my family proud of me at school” and Adeline did make them proud. She came home with a silver medal pinned on her chest.  Jasmine, Year 8

I have not read the whole book but this is what I think of it so far. The book ‘Chinese Cinderella’ takes you into a young Chinese girl’s life. She lives with her family but without her mum, which is one thing she can’t get off her mind. Her brothers and sisters are jealous of her because she is top of her class, and her father is finally taking notice of her. I think this book is suitable for mainly teen girls and over and is a very interesting for me to read. This book is also a great way to learn more about what used to happen in China. Bailey, Year 8  http://adelineyenmah.com/