New book! Check it out at nancypine.info

One in a Billion: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey through Modern-Day China

It’s a heart-wrenching story that immerses readers in the dramatic survival of one outspoken man who illuminates the souls of a billion ordinary Chinese citizens.

Readers comments are rolling in:
“It’s a page turner.”
“Full of down-to-earth details; very accessible.”
“I couldn’t put it down.”



Since a pivotal trip to China in 1990, I have had an enduring interest in contemporary China, in Chinese and American relations, and in the similarities and differences of Chinese and U.S. education. My recent book, Educating Young Giants: What Kids Learn (And Don’t Learn) in China and America, transports you into the classrooms in both countries, highlighting essential differences and striking similarities between the two systems. Based on my extensive experience teaching U.S. elementary students and teachers and more than 30 research trips to China, it is the first book to provide an in-depth view of how Chinese and American parents and teachers educate their children.

In the midst of my investigations into contemporary China, I met An Wei, a 70-year-old interpreter bent on helping others, and became fascinated with the opportunity to show modern China’s history through his dynamic struggle to survive an ever-changing country. Currently, I am writing a book that traces his determination to leave his impoverished village, survive the Cultural Revolution and become the interpreter for presidents. The book will highlight his mission to bring change to China, most recently through developing democracy in his village.

At Mount Saint Mary’s University in the heart of Los Angeles, I have directed the Elementary Education Program for 10 years and founded and directed the Bridging Cultures: U.S./China Program. Prior to that, I taught in public elementary and high schools for 14 years and coordinated an innovative educational research project at the Claremont Graduate University that drew national recognition. I publish academically in education and cross-cultural research, give talks nationally and internationally, and have won numerous awards including a City of Los Angeles honor for my cross-cultural expertise.

My latest project is a collaboration with the Museum of Teaching and Learning (MOTAL) which is mounting an exhibition based on my book, Educating Young Giants. Through the eyes of a fourth-grader from each country, visitors will explore a day in their vastly different classrooms. The exhibition, Two Roads, One Journey, will begin its national tour September 2016.



CV  [pdf]

Educating Young Giants

Educating Young Giants
ISBN: 978-0230339071

中美基础教育大碰撞 ISBN:978-7-5166-0983-5


Educating Young Giants is the first book to compare Chinese and American elementary and high school education, a key topic for both nations.

Both China and the United States want what the other has. Chinese teachers and parents want to understand how to produce students who are innovative like Americans. Americans want to have students learn math and become more studious like the Chinese. Educating Young Giants investigates the desires of both. But we can’t just copy one another. We need to understand what we each do well and adopt the best practices for our schools.

Educating Young Giants digs into teachers’ roles, into beliefs in whether natural ability or hard work is most important, and how teaching styles affect student work. These and other critical topics highlight how we can improve our schools and have our students thrive in the global 21st century. There’s nothing more important than the best education for our future generations. We can learn from the Chinese, and they can learn from us. Learn more in Educating Young Giants.

Praise for Educating Young Giants

“I wish I had read Nancy Pine’s Educating Young Giants, What Kids Learn (and Don’t learn) in China and America before I went to China in 2007! It’s a thoughtful and thorough account that starts with classrooms in both nations that come alive in her telling. She has a familiarity with both, and a breadth in both, that makes her efforts to draw from them very credible. And she’s a good storyteller.” —Deborah Meier, Senior Scholar, New York University Steinhardt School of Education, and MacArthur Fellow

“Dr. Pine has spent twenty years studying educational practices in classrooms throughout China and the United States with observant eyes, clarity of description, and insight that allows us to see what we have not seen before: the strengths and challenges of each system. The brilliance of Pine’s book exemplifies how educators in China and the United States can learn from and with each other in an international professional community that she has nurtured throughout her career. This book is for academics in universities and practitioners in classrooms, school districts, and state departments of education.” —Dr. Christelle Estrada, Secondary English Language Arts Specialist, Utah State Office of Education

“A fascinating book about teaching, learning, and the contrasting styles of the Chinese and U.S. education and cultural systems. Pine finds a way to highlight the best features of each system from a deep, practical understanding of both, offering a pathway for global collaboration in the twentieth-century. Whether you are a parent or an educator, you will find this book difficult to put down. Neither China nor the U.S. can afford to ignore or put aside the concepts brought forth in Pine’s fascinating book about the underpinnings of the educational and cultural systems of both countries.” —Louis Carrillo, Elementary School Principal, Los Angeles Unified School District

“A must read! Educating Young Giants is an insightful comparison of educational philosophies and practices between China and the U.S. This book has the potential to create a new learning experience based on the best from both countries.” — Alice S. Huang, California Institute of Technology

“Nancy Pine in Educating Young Giants: What Kids Learn (And Don’t Learn) in China and America provides a marvelous tapestry of experiences through which to experience teaching and learning in China and in the U.S. and to appreciate the realities and nuances of American and Chinese schooling.  Pine uses her unique experiences with her research and teaching in both the United States and China to provide in-depth profiles of the historical and cultural influences on their education, to highlight their strengths and challenges, and to consider what each country can learn from the other. 

“Through her personal narratives, she examines rich vignettes to document how each country’s education history continues to influence the education practiced in today’s classroom instruction and in the nature of their examination systems.  Educating Young Giants is illuminating for all to read. And for those who teach or visit classrooms regularly there are careful considerations for pondering how what they are understanding may benefit education in China and the U.S.” Yetta Goodman, Professor Emerita University of Arizona, College of Education, Department of Language, Reading and Culture