About Nancy Pine


My Story

Both Nancy Pine and An Wei grew up eating food their families grew outside their rural homes –raspberries for Nancy in her New Jersey cabin and millet for An Wei in his home in rural China. Something in common, yes, but the young Quaker girl also had indoor plumbing, not to mention paper and pencils. For An Wei to learn Chinese characters, all he had was a stick and the mud outside his door.

After college, Nancy’s first job involved arranging for American high school students to dive into other cultures abroad. When she became a teacher, her goal was always to empower her students with knowledge of other cultures – it was a natural step for her to learn Spanish and become a bilingual first grade teacher in Pasadena and then, after a mid-career Ph.D., to run a teacher preparation program for U.S. students, mostly native Spanish speakers.

(And, if you happen to have a spare two or three hours, ask her about how California short-changed its bilingual education program and what it should have done.)

Her search for the seeds of how kids learn to read and write took her to China to look at the differences between Chinese and American education – the point of her book Educating Young Giants is to explain both countries’ systems – what’s missing, and what each could do to improve.

What began Nancy’s research on An Wei was simply the marvel that a dirt-poor peasant could end up interpreting for an American president. Her curiosity led her to volunteer to teach English in An Wei’s village, even as he was fighting local corruption that undermined the village school. Fifteen years later, One in a Billion is the result.

Now, Nancy is involved in a project of exploration of how she and two friends – one African-American, one Japanese-American and she herself, European-American – are drawn together despite radically different life beginnings and experiences. What will come of this in-depth exploration? She doesn’t yet know, but meanwhile, she’s definitely available to tell you all about what she does know about modern China and a poor farmer’s life.

Nancy Pine holds a PhD in education and has travelled and studied in rural China for decades. She is one of the leading American experts on Chinese early childhood education. She founded the Bridging Cultures US/China Program and has advised the administration and faculty on China at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles.

Nancy Pine

Media Bio

Nancy Pine has travelled and studied in China for decades. She holds a PhD in education and is one of the leading American experts on Chinese early childhood education, which led to her book, Educating Young Giants, published by Palgrave Macmillan. She has taught everything from kindergarten to graduate school, and founded the Bridging Cultures US/China Program. At Mount Saint Mary’s University, she has advised the administration and faculty on China.

Nancy Pine gives talks nationally and internationally and has won numerous awards including a City of Los Angeles honor for her cross-cultural activities. Her current book, One in a Billion: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey in Modern-Day China, carries the reader into the heart-wrenching, and ultimately uplifting story of one outspoken man who illuminates the souls of a billion ordinary Chinese citizens. Val Zavala, an award-winning KCET journalist, says: “In One in a Billion, the complex history of a complex country unrolls with the ease of a deeply textured Chinese scroll.”