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

June 12

‘Spilled Water’ by Sally Grindley

Spilled water‘I loved my baby brother, until Uncle took me to the market and sold me.’

Is this the book for you? It’s an emotional roller coaster that will keep you up reading all night. The story is set on an early summer morning in a small kitchen of a small house in a small town of China. The main character is a little girl that lives with her family. She’s very grateful and blessed with what little she has in life. She’s committed and won’t give up without a fight. Her uncle has never had children and is quite awkward around them. Even though he doesn’t show it, often it’s obvious that he loves his niece and nephew and wants the best for them in life. He tries to help in his own way.

When the little girl was younger she was very happy and then her brother was born and not long after that her father died. Her family tried to take over his jobs and it just became too overwhelming so the uncle offered to the mum to sell his oldest daughter for money so they can survive. He took her to the market and sold her to a man with a wife and a son. She was to work for the wife and then when she’s old enough she would marry the son. To find out the ending of the story you will have to read the book!

Personally the book was not my cup of tea but it’s a very well written book. It made me feel blessed to be who I am and I felt so many different emotions whilst reading it.

I would recommend this book to adults of the age 20 – 40 and people interested in mystery, also to people that have experienced situations like this will able to relate to this book.

Jasmine MB, Year 8.


Spilled Water by Sally Grindley is a story about a Chinese girl who beats all odds in her life to finding her way home to her family. This book was very emotional and life changing and made me look at my life differently.

This story is about an eleven year-old girl named Lu-Si Yan who lived with her mother, father, and brother and uncle named Bo. One day her father is killed in a tragic accident that leaves Lu-Si and her family estranged. Since the father was the ruler of the family, the mother didn’t know how to take care of the brother and Lu-Si and the farm. So to make ends meet it was decided that Lu-Si and her brother were to be sold so that the mother could make enough money to buy them back.

Little did they know, the person who bought Lu-Si lived very far and soon it was too late to turn back. Now Lu-Si must go through obstacles and difficulties to try to find her way back home to her family. This book deals with family and the sacrifices people have to make to ensure another person’s safety. Overall it was a fantastic book that is based on true stories that happened in China during this time period. As a child personally, I didn’t know that kids had to go through so much and I didn’t know that they had to provide for their family.

Karin, Year 8


Imagine that you’re a little young girl that loved your father, mother and brother. But all this was about to change. You didn’t realise what was going to happen or why. Your uncle gripped you by the arm and pulled you away from your mother and brother, your mum looked at you, but didn’t say a word. How would you feel? I wouldn’t know what to do.

This little girl’s name was Lu Si-Yan. Her journey was just beginning. From her idyllic country home to the smog-wrapped tower blocks and factories of the big city, Lu Si-Yan is taken to a lot of work ahead. But she refuses to spend her life in servitude, for she’s determined to be reunited with her beloved mother and brother. She was only 9 years old when her father died. It was very sudden. One day he was there, the next he wasn’t. Her mother did not tell her very much, but he was hit by a taxi that swerved to miss a child.

Her uncle is looking after her, but he didn’t do anything for her. She had to do everything for herself: make her food, go out and earn money, wash her clothes; she even worked on a farm in a local village. In their country the boys are more important. Because the mother can’t afford to keep Lu Si-Yan, she kept her baby brother (Li-hu) instead.

All the money she earned would now go to her mother’s debts. Eventually she was back with her mother and everything was going great and she was earning money for their family and working really hard. They gave Li-hu the job of feeding the hens and ducks and collecting their eggs, he loved it.

The uncle kept coming back once and a while and would expect them to look after him, feed him, wash all of his clothes and provide all the food and clean up all of his things, and he did not help once and he never offered. He started acting very strange but she wasn’t sure why.

Then the heart breaking words came out. “Your mother can no longer afford to keep you, you have to go.”

She was at an orphanage and had to hold up a sign saying my name is Lu Si-Yan, I am young but I can wash, cook, clean and sew. I will be a good servant. She was horrified when her uncle gave that to her. Then he just disappeared and never came back. People came in to look at her to see if they could buy her and keep her. Some guy called Mr Chen bought her. He said that she will have to work for his wife then marry his son. Her whole life was about to change.

Eventually after approximately 4 months with them she felt too much of a prisoner so this nice lady called. Mrs Hong helped her escape to her life back with her mother and brother. She also made heaps of friends travelling back to find her family and far far away from her uncle.

This book is inspiring because it is taking you on a journey of this little girl and going through all her tough times and it’s just great to hear a happy end to her journey.

Jasmine H., Year 8


I loved my baby brother, until Uncle took me to market and sold me.

From the beginning the book Spilled Water is very straight forward. The first sentence definitely tells us a lot about the story. This book is based on real life and it is very heart filling, heart racing and realistic because Lu Si-Yan’s uncle sold her at a market at the age of nine. This happens in real life: people sell kids for money. It is very interesting to see why they do it and how hard it must be on the kids to work from such a young age. It is incredible to see how Lu Si-Yan pushed through it.

Lu Si-Yan is a girl of nine years who lives in a small village with her mum, dad and brother. She also has an Uncle who is very mean to Lu Si-Yan’s father because her mum gave birth to a girl. Lu Si-Yan’s father tragically dies and her family is struggling to pay for food. One day the Uncle turns up at the house and takes Lu Si-Yan to a market to sell her to a rich family where she works as a servant and when she is old enough she would marry their son.

From this book I’ve learned how people actually live and how hard it must be to go through months without seeing their family and working non-stop. In this book we see how one person who you thought was your family suddenly takes you away from everyone you loved.

I rate this book a 3 out of 5 because it went into so much detail about the father and hardly any detail about the mother. I recommend this book for young teenagers from the ages 13 – 16. This book is definitely one to read.

Emily, Year 8

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


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

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

May 4

“Spilled Water” by Sally Grindley

I am not really a person who likes to read that often. To be honest, reading has never really been a big thing for me. Although, ever since I have been reading “Spilled Water” by Sally Grindley I am becoming more into reading than I have been in the past.

This book is targeted more at teenage girls than boys. I find this novel very interesting because it shows everyone who reads this novel how hard some people’s lives can be, and how not everybody has it easy! It is truly amazing how much Lu Si-Yan goes through, but she always got through it. The book’s main characters were, Lu Si-Yan, Uncle Ba, Mother, Father, Li-Hu.

Lu Si-Yan is a young girl who lived in a little village with her father, mother, and brother (Li-Hu). Her uncle Ba came to visit often. Uncle Ba didn’t like Lu Si-Yan because she was a girl. When Li-Hu was born, Uncle said that they were not allowed to keep Lu Si-Yan. After Lu Si-Yan’s father tragic death, Lu Si-Yan’s uncle sells her to a rich family who expect her to work as their servant until she is old enough to marry their son, but when she runs away things only get worse.

I loved this book. You always had to be paying attention and it was really interesting how Lu Si-Yan became so independent! I give the book a 4 out of 5. I recommend this book to girls between the ages of 12 to about 16. It is an excellent book. I guarantee everyone who reads this book will love it!

Karleigh, Year 8.


Spilled Water by Sally Grindley

“Where was uncle taking me, was he trying to sell me ?”

As my dad had passed away mother and my little brother and I were struggling a lot, Uncle said we owed him money. The story is set in a village with not that many people. The main characters in this book are the uncle, Lu Si-Yan the little girl and the mother. When Lu Si-yan’s dad passed away she was very upset but instead of her uncle helping and supporting the family he had been making it worse as he took Lu Si-Yan to a market and sold her. Lu Si-Yan started to put the blame on her little brother saying it’s all his fault. Why was she sold? If he wasn’t here I wouldn’t be in the position. I liked this book so much because it was very interesting and I wanted to see what would happen about Lu Si-Yan and see if she would try to get back to her family. I would only recommend this story to people 10+ only because it gets quite hard to understand and it’s more of a female story as we girls have more of an emotional side and can feel good that we have a roof over our heads and be grateful for what God gave us and to keep us safe. Taylor Grade 8


Hi, my name is Zoë  and I’m in grade 8 at Aquinas College. I’m not really the sort of person who would sit there reading books all day, but since coming to high school it is expected of me to read some books for homework so I have been reading quite a lot. My favourite of the lot would have to Spilled Water Bianca Grindley. This book is targeted at mostly girls around the ages of 11, 12 and 13. It is quite an interesting book, taking you back to the ancient times where women of ancient China were treated with less respect than men, especially the girls. This book follows the story of a young girl called Lu Sin Yan. She is experiencing great heart break after her fathers death and on top of that, her uncle is taking her away from her family. Follow Lu Sin Yan’s story and be touched, knowing that this would actually have happened back in the ancient times of China. This is great book and I would definitely recommend reading it.    Zoe, Year 8


I am usually very picky and choosy when it comes to reading books. If someone just handed me a book and told me to read it, I would hesitate. But after I had read the first chapter of ‘Spilled Water’, by Sally Grindley, I couldn’t put the book down.

This booked is targeted at young teenagers aged 13-17 and that is exactly who it grabs the attention of. My friends and I have all read this book and we all have a similar opinion – that it is heart breaking, heart racing, interesting and also very dramatic.

I found this novel interesting because it teaches me something new on every page. There are two main things that I have learned from reading this novel. The firstmain thing that I have learned is that not all people in the world are going to be kind to you. The second main thing I have learned is that young children such as myself are going to have to learn to be independent, as we will not have our parents with us throughout our journey in life. I can guarantee that this book will teach you new lessons that you will use throughout the rest of your life.

This book is about a young and brave girl named ‘Lu Si-Yan’. She is brought up in an idyllic country home in China. Her father was the light of Lu Si-Yan’s life; he was the one who taught her to be so independent and brave. When Lu Si-Yan’s father dies, her uncle sells Lu Si-Yan to a wealthy Chinese family to become a slave.

I highly recommend this book for teenagers aged 13-17, as it the plot in this novel is suited to teenagers. This book is terrific, filled with heartbreak and drama, yet also brings a smile to one’s face. Monet, Year 8.


When she was just a small girl, Lu Sin was taken from all happiness that could ever see light into her world.

In China, when this story was written, females were considered weak and useless. They were sometimes forced into slavery or even killed if they did wrong in their country. Lu Sin Yan was born into a loving family, but one day, it all changed. After Lu Sin Yan’s father was no longer around to care for her, her brother and mother, her uncle takes the role. She doesn’t realise that she will become the victim of something unthinkable.

Now Lu Sin Yan has to basically fend for herself. Will she ever see her family again? Will she be held in slavery for the rest of  her life?

When you read this book, I believe you will have a better view on life. Even though it is a fictional book, it has some key situations that are true in society today. It does go on for a long time with not a huge climax, but it is a great book, vocabulary and story wise.

I would rate Spilled Water, 3 and half stars out of 5 for the above reasons.

I would definitely recommend this book to someone who is looking for an investigation. Although it is not intended to do that, the novel makes you keep reading to find out what will happen to this poor girl. The age range of readers is for any female, aged from 10 to 30.

Zoe, Year 8

May 1

‘Dragon Keeper’ by Carole Wilkinson

I’m not the person who will just read any book I get given as I am a very fussy reader but Dragon Keeper is one of the very first books that I have read even though I didn’t select it out myself.

This book is targeted at young teenage girls who enjoy fantasy books such as ‘Harry Potter’. The reason this is suitable is because it gives us fantastic life lessons such as putting others first as well as being interesting. Honestly I would not recommend this book to impatient readers as at times the story can be slow but when the action is happening the novel does become very thrill seeking. This book follows a girl who, as an everyday job must feed dragons and, when one saves her life she runs away with it on an amazing journey to the sea and along the way must keep safe a mystical dragon rock.

To summarise the book I have to say that the author Carole Wilkinson is very imaginative and that this is a wonderful book about facing fears, a miraculous journey and friendship. Simone, Year 8


I love books, so I will read anything I am given, but The Dragon Keeper is definitely one of my top five. The Dragon Keeper is an exciting and adventurous book. I loved every single moment of reading it and I was so keen to turn the page to find out what happened next.

This book would be most enjoyed by ages 12 and up and for all those who read books like Harry Potter. This book has also received awards including the QLD Premier Literary Award for 2004 and has had positive comments from the Herald Sun and Gary Crew.

To summarise this book Carole Wilkinson is a very enthusiastic and imaginative writer and this book will “enchant every reader”. I hope you love every “Dragon Tooth, Scale and Claw”.

By Amity, Year 8


I am not the type of person who particularly likes to read. If a teacher or somebody told me to read a book, I would try to avoid it as much as I could. But I have never found a book that that I enjoy more than Dragon Keeper by Carole Wilkinson, which is a fantasy and adventure book set in an Ancient Chinese Han Dynasty to be read by any gender.

The book’s main characters are Ping, Long Danzi, Hua, and Diao.  The character ‘Ping’ was a slave girl taken away from her family when she was a young girl, and the only friend she had was a rat called ‘Hua’. ‘Danzi’ is her dragon companion who helped Ping escape from her terrible master and they are now travelling to the ocean. Along the way, ‘Diao’ stops them in their tracks and is trying to take away the dragon stone. On the way to the ocean Ping finds a special power in her, to defeat the horrible Diao!!

I especially love this novel because it never gives away any detail of what might happen in the next chapter. It is a great book with so much fantasy and adventure in every page to make it impossible to put down!!

I would highly recommend this this book for anybody starting at age 12- to a suitable age maybe higher than 60, as the vocabulary featured in this book is suited for any age. It is a great book, filled with new problems, adventure, yet it also brings a smile or maybe even a tear to one’s face.

By Courtney, Year 8


I am not one of those people that love to read but when I read Dragon Keeper it was like a fantasy novel.  It blew me away!

In Dragon Keeper there was a girl named Ping and she was a slave that lived on a dragon farm. Her master was Master Lan, who controlled her. She had to do everything that he said.

The book’s main characters were Ping, Danzi, Master Lan, Diao, Hua, Kia Duan and Lao Ma. Hua was a rat that got carried everywhere with Ping.

He would always hide in her pocket of her jacket to keep nice and warm. Danzi was a dragon that escaped from Master Lan and took Ping with him.  He could change into an old man and a snake and  couldn’t be recognised by other people.

I highly recommend this book for girls between 14 and up, as the vocabulary featured in this book is very hard to understand. It’s a great book filled with a lot of adventures. Every page you turn to there would be a new adventure.

By Maddison, Year 8

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 25

‘Spilled Water’ by Sally Grindley

Spilled waterThis book is really interesting, so far.  The main character is Lu Si-yan, a young 13-year-old girl with her mother and her father, with a baby boy on the way, but tragedy happened when Lu Si-yan’s Father was killed just after the baby boy Lu Li-Hu was born. Then one day her Uncle Ba steps in to be their father but the family cannot get the money to survive, so Uncle Ba has an idea to get money but he does not tell anyone but Lu Si-yan’s mother. One day Uncle Ba Takes Lu Si-yan on the bus and transports Lu Si-yan and Uncle Ba to the markets so he can sell her for money and for her family, I recommend this book to Year 7 up to adult. I will give this book 10/10 because it is a great book to read.

By: Rachel, Year 8

‘Lu Si-Yan, it’s going to be a big day for you. From today, you must learn to find your own way in the muddy whirlpool of life. Your mother has given you a good start. Now it’s your turn’.

This was the most frighting day of Lu Si-Yan’s life, a day when everything changed, a day when she had to learn to defend herself, and a day when she found out what it’s really like to be born as a Chinese girl. From her little old country home to smog-wrapped tower blocks and factories of the big city, she would have to spend her life as a servant but she refuses to, as she wants to be at home with her family. Lu Si-Yan was only 10 when she was sent off to the markets to be bought. She was a very brave girl, but of course she had no idea what was going on. Lu Si-Yan was my favourite character in the story. She was very loving, caring and mature, which I loved her for. This was one of the best books I have ever read because it sounded just like a true story. I recommend this book to girls over the age of 13 because of the maturity and the story that it tells. Yes it is an easy read but a wonderful story. This book will be in your top 10 books. Jessica Grade 8

‘Today is a big day for you. From today, you must learn your own way in the muddy whirlpool of life’.

The main character in this story is a 13 year-old girl whose name is Lu Si-yanS she lives in China with her mother and her baby brother. Her father died when her baby brother, Lu Li-Hu, was born.  And so acting as Lu Si-Yan’s father is her uncle, Uncle Ba. But, then one day Uncle Ba took Lu on a long bus trip to a big market where there were little girls her age following a man around.  The adventure continues with Lu Si-Yan’s life. I recommend this book to girls aged 13-16.  So far I give this book 8/10 because it is making me want to read more and more of the book. By Emily, Year 8

This book is quite interesting.  The main character is Lu Si-yan, an average 13-year-old girl. One day her father died, just not long after her baby brother was born. Her Uncle comes to help out but her family do not and cannot get enough money to survive, so Lu Si-yan’s Uncle has an idea to get money but he does not tell anyone but Lu Si-yan’s mother. One day Uncle Ba takes Lu Si-yan to the markets so he can sell her for money and for her family. This book is good for 12 years and older. Nadine, Year 8

May 24

‘Ties that bind, ties that break’ by Lensey Namioka

Ties that bind“Nothing could be as bad as having your feet bound”

“Ties that bind, Ties That Break” is a book written by Lensey Namioka. The story is set in China. The main character is a little girl named Ailin who is very energetic and likes to run around. She strongly believes in whatever she thinks is right and won’t lose without a fight. Ailin’s family all want to get her feet bound (to break your bones in your feet to make them very small) because in China it is a tradition that little girls get their feet bound when they are young because back then if you didn’t you were not classed as beautiful and were not eligible to get married. Ailin didn’t want to get her feet bound, which meant she wasn’t allowed to get married. I really like this book because it tells you about old Chinese traditions and the main character wants to fight against that. The book can also get very tense with arguments and fights. I would recommend this book to readers 12 years old and over. By Nicholas, year 8

“What could be more worse then having an arranged marriage and bound feet at the age of 5?”

“Ties that bind, ties that break” is a book written by Lensey Namioka. It is the tale of a very energetic 5 year old girl named Ailin. This story is set in China. Even at the age of five Ailin knows that if she gets her feet bound her life will not be the same. She will not be able to run around freely and play. With her family against her, Ailin still has the courage to stand up for herself and not follow her tradition. In China it is a tradition that little girls get their feet bound when they are young because back then if you didn’t you were not classed as beautiful and were not eligible to get married. Ailin didn’t want to get her feet bound, which meant she was not allowed to get married. I really enjoyed this book because it is about the old Chinese traditions and the main character Ailin doesn’t want to follow her tradition and she wants to fight against that. I would recommend this book to readers 10 years old and over. By Zania Year 8.

“Does it have to be this way? Going through so much pain… Knowing this is not right but can’t stop it.”

Ladies and little girls in China have been for many years in this pain and suffering, wondering whether and why this tradition has to be followed – getting their feet bound. This story is like all stories. It is placed in a scene, which the main character is involved in, but there is something else that stirs your emotions and makes you want to know more….

A little girl called Ailin and her very traditional family have now decided it is high time that Ailin gets her feet bound. This now puts Ailin into a situation of whether feet binding is good or bad? One night Ailin asks her second sister how her feet felt bound. Second sister told her to come to her room after dinner. This had Ailin confused. Why couldn’t second sister tell me? Why did she want me to come to her room? What was she going to show me? Years passed and Ailin had gotten older and understood the meaning of having bound feet. But she wouldn’t stand to have her feet bound and go through so much pain, and she wouldn’t want the feeling of never being able to run free again. What will Ailin do now? Will she face her tradition with bravery and refuse to get her feet bound? Or will she be forced to go through the pain? This book is very interesting and captivating. It shows the way a brave girl called Ailin has to face the traditions in China and the way she stands for her rights. I recommend this book to 12-14 years girls and boys. This book will really interest you and you will want to read more. By Daisy, Year 8

May 17

‘Chinese Cinderella’ by Adeline Yen Mah

Chinese CinderellaAdeline Yen Mah was the last born of her family. Unfortunately for Adeline, her family dislikes her very much. When Adeline Yen Mah was born her mother passed away. Her mother either had the choice to stay alive and give up Adeline’s life, or give birth to Adeline, let her have a life and give up her own. So she chose to let her daughter have a life, and she gave up hers. Poor little Adeline is only four years old and goes to preschool, and her closest relationship is with her Aunt Baba. Adeline and her Aunt Baba have a very close relationship. Her Aunt Baba looked after her, as the rest of her family hated her. Adeline was always asking her Aunt Baba for photographs of her mother. She just wanted to know what her real mother looked like. But Aunt Baba would always tell her that her father made sure all photos of her mother were destroyed. All Adeline wanted to do was feel accepted in her family, and feel like she was a part of her family. So she spends years just trying to prove to her family that she is worthy of being a part of her family. Samantha, Year 8

May 13

‘Dragonkeeper’ by Carole Wilkinson

dragonkeeperIn the Han Dynasty, A young slave girl, named Ping, works for a mean, old dragon keeper named Lan. The dragon keeper is in possession of the two imperial dragons. When one of them dies, Lan is quick to turn the dragon into a pickle for the Emperor and Empress’s meal. On the day of the meal, Lan runs out of wine, and Ping is sent to get more, but when she enters she finds the emperor. If she is seen here it is punishable by death. This is a thrilling tale of dragons and China.  Dante, Year 8

The novel ‘Dragon keeper’ is based in Ancient China in the time of the Han dynasty. A little slave girl saves the life of a dragon and escapes her master. Getting chased by a dragon hunter, the slave and the dragon run all around China holding a mysterious stone that has to protected. It’s a novel about a young slave who thinks she’s not worthy for a name and finds strength and courage to make an epic journey with a dragon. Jon, Year 8

May 21

‘Dragon Dawn’ by Carole Wilkinson

dragon dawn‘Dragon Dawn’ got me hooked from the very first word in the book; it is a very interesting and fascinating novel. It is about a dragon named Danzi who unfortunately meets a trickster named Bingwen. The book leads on and shows us how Danzi and Bingwen become great friends. They both go through various stages of challenges together but the main question is if Bingwen is truly Danzi’s friend or is he tricking him for his own benefits. Sage, Year 8

‘Dragon Dawn’ is an excellent book. It has lots of characters and when you read the book it feels like you are sitting right there and watching it happen. Carole Wilkinson has described the story so well that’s why you feel like you’re there. Danzi and Bingwen are the main characters. Danzi is a Chinese dragon and Bingwen is a trickster. In the story Danzi shaped changed into a old man and was walking until he came across Bingwen tricking some people into playing his trick so that he can get money but Danzi stopped it and that’s how the story began. By Madison, Year 8

‘Dragon Dawn’ is an excellent book and is also one of my favorites. The main character in the book is Danzi. Danzi is a dragon and his dragon keeper unfortunately passes away. While Danzi is flying around places he stops a trickster, Bingwen. Bingwen wants to be friends with Danzi but Danzi doesn’t really like him. But when they work together they can do really good things. Carole Wilkinson wrote a ‘Dragonkeeper’ trilogy. The books are, ‘Dragon Dawn’, ‘Dragonkeeper’, ‘Garden of the Purple Dragon’ and ‘Dragon Moon’. After reading ‘Dragon Dawn’, I can’t wait to read the next books in the trilogy and I’m sure it will be the same for you.  Zoe, Year 8