Rebels of the Heavenly Kingdom
Written by Katherine Paterson
Publication Date October 01, 2008
Rebels of the Heavenly Kingdom is an engrossing fictional account of a young peasant boy caught up in the Taiping Rebellion. Rescued from kidnappers, Wang Lee finds himself with a strange secret group. They are the God-worshipping society, Mei Lin tells him, dedicated to overthrowing the hated Manchu emperor of China. Wang Lee must join the rebels and learn to be a soldier -- and to kill. Singing and marching, the crusaders fight the "foreign devils" in villages and cities, on mountains and rivers.
For Wang Lee it is a time of agonizing questions that neither his companion, Chu, nor his philosopher friend, Shen, can answer. For Mei Lin, her teacher San-niang, and hundreds of other women with unbound feet, it is a time to show their strength. And for all the charcoal bearers, farmers, miners and misfits transformed into a noble army, it is a time to establish a new age -- the Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace.
Katherine Paterson, winner of the two most prestigious international prizes for children - the Hans Christian Andersen Award and the ALMA Prize - was born in China to missionary parents and spent her early childhood there. She has written a great number of award-winning books for children, including Bridge to Terabithia and Jacob Have I Loved, which won the Newberry Medal. When it was first published in 1983, Rebels of the Heavenly Kingdom won the Parents' Choice Award and was named the NCSS-CBC Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies as well as one of the Child Study Association's Children's Books of the year. Her most recent book is Bread and Roses, Too. Katherine Paterson lives in Vermont.