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About the book
  • Published: 3 July 2017
  • ISBN: 9780143503118
  • Imprint: Picture Puffin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 40
  • RRP: $16.99

The Peasant Prince


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'This is your one chance. You have your secret dreams. Follow them! Make them come true!'



A moving and inspirational story based on the author's life that delights the young and the old, again and again.

This true story of a poor Chinese peasant boy, who at the age of ten was plucked unsuspectingly from millions of others across the land to be trained as a ballet dancer, is a fairytale that has captivated children and adults alike. Li tells his story with disarming simplicity and charm, with humour and compassion, and here he speaks directly to the small child, his special audience. He has a personal story to tell you, and he begins by introducing you to the land of his childhood, and to his beloved father, and to a small child who was once Li himself: he tells us of that boy growing up in hardship, yet with love and affection, as he shares with us the lives of his large family, the special stories in his life, the inspiring teachers, the experiences and moments he will never forget.

  • Pub date: 3 July 2017
  • ISBN: 9780143503118
  • Imprint: Picture Puffin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 40
  • RRP: $16.99

About the Authors

Li Cunxin

Li Cunxin was born in 1961 in the New Village, Li Commune, near the city of Qingdao on the coast of north-east China. The sixth of seven sons in a poor rural family, Li's peasant life in Chairman Mao's communist China changed dramatically when, at the age of eleven, he was chosen by Madame Mao's cultural advisers to become a student at the Beijing Dance Academy. After a summer school in America, for which he was one of only two students chosen, he defected to the West and became a principal dancer for the Houston Ballet.

Li went on to become one of the best male dancers in the world. He is now a senior manager in a major stockbroking firm and lives in Melbourne, Australia, with his wife Mary and their three children, Sophie, Tom and Bridie.

Li's autobiography, Mao's Last Dancer, has received numerous accolades including the Australian Book of the Year Award and has been published around the world. The children’s version won the Australian Publishers Association's Book of the Year for Younger Children and the Queensland Premier's Literary Awards Children's Book Award.

Mao's Last Dancer was adapted into a 2009 feature film of the same name by director Bruce Beresford and writer Jan Sardi.

Anne Spudvilas

ANNE SPUDVILAS is a multi-award-winning illustrator of children's books and an established portrait painter who also works as a courtroom artist for the Melbourne media. Her first picture book The Race was awarded the Crichton Award for Illustration and Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Honour Book. In 2000 she won CBCA Picture Book of the Year for Jenny Angel and her latest picture book The Peasant Prince has received the NSW and Queensland Premiers' Literary Awards, the Australian Book Industry Award and CBCA Honour Book. Anne lives and works in Melbourne.


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