Event Reviews

Yahoo! Event Organizer:

“Your warmth, wit and sense of humor touched our hearts, and made us realize that whatever country we may call home, we’re all part of the same human family. Feelings and emotions are universal, and you made us feel a little of what life was like for you in those trying times. You showed us that we all of have a core of inner strength to tap into when times get tough, and that the human spirit is indomitable.”

Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) and The National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA) Summer Institute on East Asia:

  • “I absolutely loved meeting and listening to Chun Yu. Her book is a refreshingly clear and uncomplicated piece of art. It is a wonderful supplement to a unit on the Cultural Revolution. I was very moved by a couple of the poems and found her a very inspiring person. I could easily use this beautiful little book in my classroom. I could use it while doing a non-fiction unit in my AP class or I could use it in my regular literature course. The poetry is so crisp and the style has a very Eastern feel to it. It is a piece that can demonstrate many poetic devices while also stimulating meaningful discussions about the effects of China’s cultural upheaval during the Cultural Revolution.”
  • “Chun Yu’s presentation on her memoir/book of poetry from Simon and Schuster, Little Green was wonderful.  Getting a copy of the book was much appreciated – it is a beautiful piece.  I have poured through it since, in fascination.  She was equally fascinating (to the first speaker) as a presenter and person, clearly aware of what she is doing in speaking to audiences.  She said as much, and it’s true:  she connects and reads her audience in order to engage them (us).  Her nuanced discussion, rooted in such personal knowledge and deep respect for her own experience, of the Cultural Revolution was one of the most fascinating writer talks I have been witness to.  Just hearing her for that short time will help me bring more nuance to my teaching of the Cold War politics, and will help me to remember that these political stories (and master narratives, a la Prof. Van Slyke) are always made from personal stories and experiences.”
  • “The last presentation of the day was amazing. Chun Yu was such a good speaker and an amazing resource in regards to the Cultural Revolution. This particular resource/text will be a great piece in my World History curriculum. I will taken a few selections from her book and incorporate them into a class discussion. I will have students read selected stories aloud and answer some questions in their notebooks. Afterwards, we will discuss these questions as a class. Communism, perspective, government, social structure, emotions, will all come out of discussions based on this text. On a personal level, I really enjoyed her words. I spoke to Ms. Yu after class for about 15 minutes and walked away with some really good insights. She has an amazing story and I’m glad I got to hear it.”
  • “Chun Yu: AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!
    What a nice person! I really enjoyed listening to her poetry and stories growing up in a communist country.  Just like professor Dr. Lyman Van Skyle, Chun Yu is a must for this seminar.  She has a special and personal way of explaining history from a personal experience.  I love it!”
  • “Chun Yu’s visit was naturally the highlight of the day. I have to say that I was expecting gritty stories about the Cultural Revolution, and was surprised by her almost Buddhist approach (if you want to call it this) to the event. Everyone has different perspectives/approaches on surviving a tragedy, and in her eyes she seems to understand the time period not as one of a tragedy at all but rather of a natural progression of history. Again, this was another “ah-ha” moment to me, as I would have never expected someone to view the Cultural Revolution in any other way but as a negative experience and a dark mark on China’s history. Her view of the revolution is complex, reflecting the true nature of the event; it was not as black and white as it seems in terms of people being either for or against the revolution. I am particularly struck by the passage in Little Green, “On the Bridge to Mama’s School” about a moment when her mom was being antagonized by a former student and how she skillfully turns it around to prove that Mao did not particularly favor the poorer and illiterate. It is such a terrific teaching moment to show how Mao’s ideas were misinterpreted and how the revolution turned excessively violent. You can find so many passages about struggle sessions and terrible violence in general literature on the Cultural Revolution, yet her writing brings something different, unique and I cannot teach the revolution without using several passages from her book.”

Primary Source Summer Teacher Institute:

  • “Her passion for poetry was absolutely wonderful and inspiring.  She nearly brought me to tears at least twice. I teach the Cultural Revolution using Red Scarf Girl a wonderful book, but not poetically written or motivated.  This is!”
  • “Helped explain the “Why” authentically. Chun Yu not only writes poetry, she speaks it.  She has a gift for inviting people into her heart. “
  • “Very special! It was inspirational to hear Chun Yu.  Her passion for ancient literature set a nice tone for the beginning of this institute.”
  • “Excellent way to start with a personal story.  I look forward to reading her book.”
  • “History through literature from young people’s point of view – excellent!  She was delightful and sincere. I will certainly use this memoir along with Red Scarf Girl.  She give such a perspective…this is what I will bring to my class.”
  • “Very moving.  Chun Yu’s reading and adding historical and personal context was wonderful and added texture to her story.  I can’t wait to read this with my students.”
  • “Excellent presentation, poetry is beautiful. Fascinating to hear her story.”
  • “Great introduction – love the parallels she drew from the ancient poems to present day.”
  • “Some in our system are searching for “anchor” books; others want student choice.  This book works well for either.  Also, we have a large Chinese population and I teach memoir.”
  • “She was a superb, inspiring, and practical presenter to start our workshop.”
  • “Great speaker.  Great discussion.  Wonderful passion for life and appreciation of one’s experience.”