“I urge you to read this book. It is the remarkable, well-written story of a young girl's coming of age in the midst of the turbulent 1960s & 1970s. It is also the untold story of a brave, committed family struggling to stay together while throwing themselves into the heart of Cesar Chavez' farm workers' movement.”
—Rev Chris Hartmire, former Director of the California Migrant Ministry
“Many successful woman leaders have a fascinating story to tell, but few have a story as fascinating and inspiring as Karen's!
You'll be blown away by this incredible book about a young girl growing up while navigating both family and political upheaval; traveling to Mao's China with Shirley MacLaine to explore women’s liberation; and integrating herself into a boy’s physical education class to prove equality required under Title IX was possible.
You'll be amazed as you read about how this young girl stood up and fought for her right to determine her own destiny. It will make you want to stand up and fight for yours too!”
—Susan Davis-Ali, PhD, President, Leadhership1, Inc., Author of “How to Become Successful Without Becoming a Man”
In 1973, twelve-year-old Karen Boutilier was invited by Shirley MacLaine to become the youngest member of the First American Women’s Friendship Delegation to China. The delegation consisted of twelve women including a four-woman film crew and Karen. The resulting Oscar nominated documentary, “The Other Half of the Sky: a China Memoir” aired in 1975. This extraordinary life altering experience was preceded by a most unusual childhood.
She lived, breathed, and experienced history in a way that exposed her to amazing, fascinating, and sometimes frightening situations. She was a preacher’s kid raised during the sixties. But, her father was not the stereotypical minister.
Karen had grown up living in communal strike houses, walking United Farm Worker picket lines, working on political campaigns, surviving the violence of Washington, D.C. and the Poor People’s Campaign, as well as attending marches and protest rallies for civil rights and the anti-war movement. While other kids drew in coloring books, she made picket signs. While other kids played with dolls, she took care of her brothers and sister. While other kids reveled in the innocence of childhood, she obsessively worried about the social and political problems of the day.
The stories in Berkeley to Beijing will lead you on an amazing journey through a remarkable and exciting childhood.