Every Falling Star, the first book to portray contemporary North Korea to a young audience, is the intense memoir of a North Korean boy named Sungju, who is forced at age 12 to live on the streets and fend for himself. To survive, Sungju creates a gang and lives by thieving, fighting, begging, and stealing rides on cargo trains. Sungju richly recreates his scabrous story, depicting what it was like for a boy alone to create a new family with his gang, his "brothers"; to be hungry and to fear arrest, imprisonment, and even execution. This riveting memoir allows young listeners to learn about other cultures where freedoms they take for granted do not exist.
©2016 Sungju Lee (P)2016 Tantor
"A pampered son of the elite survives a nightmarish ordeal in this page-turner of a memoir." (Kirkus)
I am an older reader. The narrator's cadence lends itself to a young readership. As I listened, I couldn't help but picture a teacher reading this book aloud with students at his or her feet, mouths gaping as they hung on every word. I believe that was the intention. The author painted vivid images of this young mans struggle to survive in deplorable and heartbreaking conditions. Excellently done. Highly recommended.
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