The Diary of Ma Yan : The Life of a Chinese Schoolgirl, Paperback Book

The Diary of Ma Yan : The Life of a Chinese Schoolgirl Paperback

5 out of 5 (1 rating)


No more money for school this year. I till the land in order to pay for my brothers' schooling.

When I think of the happy times at school, I can almost imagine myself there. How I want to study!' - Ma Yan, aged 13 When the journalist Pierre Haski was passed three small brown notebooks in a remote province in Northeastern China, an extraordinary friendship began. 'A few years ago in the remote village of Zhangjiashu in Ningxia region of northern China Ma Yan was distraught because her parents could not afford to keep her in school.

Today she is the 16-year-old author of Ma Yan's Diary which has appeared in seventeen languages .

Thanks to its publication, her family is no longer poor, and 250 other Ningxia youngsters, mostly girls, now have scholarships to continue studying' New York Times


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 224 pages, Integrated: 30, int
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Biography: general
  • ISBN: 9781844081806



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This book is the translated diary of a young girl in rural China struggling to stay in school. She knows that without an education she will be condemned to a life of poverty and back-breaking manual labor--but in a society that values boys over girls Ma Yan has to be better than everyone else to convince her parents that she deserves this chance just as much as her brothers.It is so heartbreaking to read through her feelings and even though the translation made the book seem a bit choppy and disconnected I don't feel like it lost any of the raw emotion she wrote down. It also frequently interrupts her diary with explanations of her family, town, and culture. These were particularly helpful in painting a complete picture of her life; otherwise I would not have known why her family desperately needed to collect the fallen snow (there was no well with drinkable water).After the book was published it garnered so much attention and sympathy that a fund was set up to help girls in Ma Yan's region continue with their education. This is also a fairly recent book and highlights how badly poverty still affects some parts of the world--even places like China where the cities are incredibly technologically advanced and yet their rural areas suffer so terribly.