• Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

An Unconventional Librarian

Dive into Diversity

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother – WANT GOTTA HAVE

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua has been getting a lot of press lately. And since PammyPam is not one to miss out on a party, I had to check it out.  I heard a piece on NPR the other day and the story sparked my interest; in fact, NPR is usually my go to source for book and music recommendations. Chua’s story didn’t surprise me. What surprised me was ALL of the press she was getting on her book. And since no press is bad press, she must be pleased with the attention the book is getting, right?

Here’s the product description:

An awe-inspiring, often hilarious, and unerringly honest story of one mother’s exercise in extreme parenting, revealing the rewards-and the costs-of raising her children the Chinese way.

All decent parents want to do what’s best for their children. What Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother reveals is that the Chinese just have a totally different idea of how to do that. Western parents try to respect their children’s individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions and providing a nurturing environment. The Chinese believe that the best way to protect your children is by preparing them for the future and arming them with skills, strong work habits, and inner confidence. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother chronicles Chua’s iron-willed decision to raise her daughters, Sophia and Lulu, her way-the Chinese way-and the remarkable results her choice inspires.

Here are some things Amy Chua would never allow her daughters to do:

* have a playdate

* be in a school play

* complain about not being in a school play

* not be the #1 student in every subject except gym and drama

* play any instrument other than the piano or violin

* not play the piano or violin

The truth is Lulu and Sophia would never have had time for a playdate. They were too busy practicing their instruments (two to three hours a day and double sessions on the weekend) and perfecting their Mandarin.

Of course, no one is perfect, including Chua herself. Witness this scene:

“According to Sophia, here are three things I actually said to her at the piano as I supervised her practicing:

1. Oh my God, you’re just getting worse and worse.

2. I’m going to count to three, then I want musicality.

3. If the next time’s not PERFECT, I’m going to take all your stuffed animals and burn them!”

But Chua demands as much of herself as she does of her daughters. And in her sacrifices-the exacting attention spent studying her daughters’ performances, the office hours lost shuttling the girls to lessons-the depth of her love for her children becomes clear. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is an eye-opening exploration of the differences in Eastern and Western parenting- and the lessons parents and children everywhere teach one another.

I’m interested in this book for obvious reasons:

  1. it is a tale of a diverse multicultural family (also: I think her husband is Jewish)
  2. it is a parenting tale
  3. there is a chance for great discussions

While I haven’t read the book I can already see pros and cons for each argument. Every parent wants the best for their children and naturally sometimes their tactics aren’t always the best; that’s why there’s therapy.  Secretly, I have always wanted my children to be prodigies; but have often wondered when children become prodigies, what, if anything, suffers because of it.

Has anyone read it? Thoughts?


My passion is advocating for diversity in children's and YA literature.

15 thoughts on “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother – WANT GOTTA HAVE”
  1. I had never heard of this book prior to reading this post. However, since I’m currently enrolled in a comparative education course right now, this book does seem interesting. I mean the US is not doing as well in assessments now and is looking to other countries for ideas. I’m not sure what is right. But, this does seem like a good book.

  2. I don’t get how verbal abuse can be called a parenting technique that we should appreciate. But that’s just me.

  3. As a music educator I’m appalled. I don’t teach for perfection, I teach so children will have a lifelong love of making and listening to music. Every student has rough patches and times they don’t want to practice BUT if a child isn’t enjoying what they are doing-forcing them to do it hours on end isn’t going to foster a love for that activity.

    1. I’m really not sure this type of parental up bringing is at all healthy. to be sure, everyone is entitled to raise their children how they see fit, but having a virtuoso for a child doesnt make them a healthy child. just an accomplished and wealthy one. and surely there’s more to life than that?

  4. I keep hearing about this book, but never read it. I am going to have to pick it up.

  5. I’m really interested in reading this book. I love learning about other cultures and seeing how they do things. Obviously, I’m not cool about the comments he made when she was frustrated, but I think most of us can understand looking back on a reaction and being ashamed of how we handled it.

    I’m gonna have to get my mitts on this book.

  6. This looks like an interesting book. I would like to read it.

  7. Ok, when I first read over this I was so upset! Then, I got to thinking… is what we are currently doing really working? Maybe we should be taking a few pages out of this book and applying them to our kids. We all complain that the problem with the world today is parenting, but none of us want to step up and change the way we parent. Certainly makes me think… although, I don’t really see myself changing my parenting styles. LOL!

    1. i agree partially, kelli. parenting is difficult and we all could certainly use some pointers, but i think this is a little extreme. perhaps there might be something we can take away from this?

  8. I’ve heard a little about this book and would definitely be interested in reading this book.

  9. I’ve seen this book on a few of the morning show circuits. As a mom of five I am very much on the fence about this book. Her daughters do seem to be very balanced young ladies. I think some things get thrown out of context. I would need to read the book myself before making a full opinion on the topic.

    Thanks for sharing.

  10. I’ve heard Amy Chua on a few interviews and she seems to back down on what she’s written, which really annoyed me. I don’t think she was able to handle the criticism. I do believe in being strict, but to this degree.

    1. that does irritate me too; backing down from what you’ve written? why did she write it then? nonetheless, if i can get my downloaded version to work i’ll read it and then let you know what i think. i dont mind strictness but some of her tactics border on abuse.

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