Chinese Cinderella and the Secret Dragon Society written by Adeline Yeh Man is a story about a 12-year-old girl living in Shanghai at the time of a Japanese invasion.
The book follows the character of Ye Xian (Chinese Cinderella) who was kicked out of her own house after suffering the abuse of her cruel stepmother, she then seeks refuge at a martial arts academy and joins a secret dragon society. She helps three boys who live with their Kung Fu teacher, Grandma Wu, at the martial arts academy.
I greatly admire the character of Ye Xian (CC) because of her courage. When she had a fight with her stepmother, who was over controlling CC, she stood up and fights for her rights. If I were her I wouldn’t have the strength and courage to stand up against my mother and survive if I got kicked out of my own house. As the story progresses we can see that CC’s life changes dramatically and from this, we can see that she has matured and learned how to be independent. She also faces difficult decisions like whether to help the dragon society or to go home and beg for her father’s forgiveness.
An idea that shows in this book is to not pay attention to a person’s race or background but love them for who they are. The boys who live in the martial arts academy are all orphans who had a painful past of their own, are very keen on Kung Fu and dedicated to helping those who are in need. Most of the children; David is a Christian, Sam is a Jewish and Marat is a Muslim, as well as Grandma Wu who is a Buddhist in the dragon society, are being hated against for being mixed race in China. At their school, they were forced to wear armbands to signify their race, but the dragon society accepts who they are and supports them where they are not judged for their race.
Another idea that the book show is finding one's place in the world, finding their own path, finding a place where you belong. We're better off losing some friends or relatives that sets us apart from others if it means we can be truer to ourselves. The idea is demonstrated in the book, this shows through by the characters especially by CC, throughout the book she figures out her life, despite her background and family history. The sense of belonging is always present in the story as well, even when CC and her friends are shoved into dangerous situations.
Overall the book was very exciting and tense with full of adventure. It made me learn more about the Chinese history but knowing that most of the events mentioned in this book are true which makes it heartbreaking knowing that these things had happened to people in real life. This book also gives me some perspective of what it’s like living in Shanghai during the WWII Japanese invasion.