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The Resource Every falling star : how I survived and escaped North Korea, by Sungju Lee and Susan Elizabeth McClelland

Every falling star : how I survived and escaped North Korea, by Sungju Lee and Susan Elizabeth McClelland

Label
Every falling star : how I survived and escaped North Korea
Title
Every falling star
Title remainder
how I survived and escaped North Korea
Statement of responsibility
by Sungju Lee and Susan Elizabeth McClelland
Creator
Contributor
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
  • "This is YA nonfiction. It's the memoir of a boy named Sungju who grew up in North Korea and, at the age of twelve, was forced to live on the streets and fend for himself after his parents disappeared. Finally, after years of being homeless and living with a gang, Sungju is reunited with his maternal grandparents and, eventually, his father"--
  • "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 twelve 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 re-creates 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 readers to learn about other cultures where freedoms they take for granted do not exist"--
Storyline
Pace
Writing style
Character
Award
  • Notable Books for a Global Society, 2017
  • OLA Best Bets, 2016.
  • Red Maple Nonfiction Award (Ontario), 2019.
Review
  • Gr 6–9—Lee pens his harrowing journey from one of North Korea's city elite to a homeless and hungry vagrant. Lee, an only child, grew up comfortably in the nation's capital of Pyongyang because his father was a well-respected member of the military. Yet with no warning, the boy and his parents were deported to the countryside. Lee, who had known only the strict rituals and decorum of Pyongyang, was initially horrified by life in Gyeong-seong. Mass hunger, public executions, and unemployment were rampant—a stark contrast to the propaganda Lee had been taught his whole life. Forced by starvation, Lee's parents left him in search of commerce or emigration. He fended for himself for almost five years. His struggle is chronicled in a tightly written first-person narrative. Lee would eventually lead a gang of boys who lived by their wiles, stealing just enough to survive. The tension that runs throughout the narrative is somewhat alleviated by the mere existence of the work. Lee provides a summary of the history of Korea and the politics of the famine in North Korea, achieving a great balance between historical context and storytelling. Lee incorporates Korean words throughout the text and defines them with a pronunciation guide in the back matter. VERDICT An excellent inside look at childhood in poverty that will resonate with middle schoolers.—Amy Thurow, New Glarus School District, WI --Amy Thurow (Reviewed 08/01/2016) (School Library Journal, vol 62, issue 8, p130)
  • This affecting memoir starts slowly but gains momentum as it highlights a boy’s survival and eventual escape from North Korea. The narrative begins with a brief history of 20th-century Korea that helps establish context. Lee enjoyed a privileged childhood in Pyongyang as the son of a respected military officer until his fate changed abruptly at age 10, when his family left for an extended “holiday” in a northern sea town where his parents were forced to work as laborers. Writing with McClelland (Stars Between the Sun and Moon), Lee effectively describes his own trusting ignorance and how he began to understand the dire state of their exile. The strongest section recounts Lee’s harrowing life on the streets as he banded together with friends, stealing, begging, borrowing, and fighting to subsist (“Maybe everything had been taken from us, but we still had our word, and that meant something”); deadening their pain with alcohol, smoke, and opium; and mourning lost friends. A testament to resilience, Lee’s story pulls back the curtain on life in North Korea. Ages 13–up. Agent: Al Zuckerman, Writers House. (Sept.)
			 --Staff (Reviewed 07/18/2016) (Publishers Weekly, vol 263, issue 29, p)
  • A pampered son of the elite survives a nightmarish ordeal in this page-turner of a memoir.Sungju Lee's carefree life, playing with his rare pedigreed dog and watching cartoons, comes to an abrupt end at age 11 when his family is banished to a remote seaside town after his army officer father transgresses in unspecified ways. The mid-1990s famine that eventually killed over 1 million North Koreans soon takes its toll, as each of his parents leaves in search of food and does not return. Teaming up with several friends, Lee travels the country—stealing in markets; fighting other gangs for territory; smoking, drinking, and using opium; getting arrested and imprisoned; finding clients for a madam's "nightflowers"; and losing two of his friends in brutal attacks. Straightforward prose prevents this harrowing tale from overwhelming readers, but at times it may emotionally distance them. Over time the boys shed their faith in the regime but never give up on dreams of reunion with their families. A short foreword offers readers some historical context, but the story's emphasis on the dangers of daily survival mirrors Lee's lack of awareness at the time of larger political events. This fast-paced story will likely compel its readers to learn more about North Korea after finishing it. (Memoir. 12-18)(Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2016)
Biography type
autobiography
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10527151
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Lee, Sung-Ju
Index
no index present
Literary form
non fiction
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/minGradeLevel
  • 6
  • 9
http://library.link/vocab/relatedWorkOrContributorName
McClelland, Susan
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Lee, Sungju
  • Lee, Sungju
  • Boys
  • Homeless boys
  • Street children
  • Survival
  • Korea (North)
  • Korea (North)
Target audience
juvenile
http://bibfra.me/vocab/lite/titleRemainder
how I survived and escaped North Korea
Label
Every falling star : how I survived and escaped North Korea, by Sungju Lee and Susan Elizabeth McClelland
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
000057246225
Extent
pages cm.
Isbn
9781419721328
Isbn Type
(hardback)
Lccn
2016002463
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)938991009
Label
Every falling star : how I survived and escaped North Korea, by Sungju Lee and Susan Elizabeth McClelland
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
000057246225
Extent
pages cm.
Isbn
9781419721328
Isbn Type
(hardback)
Lccn
2016002463
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)938991009

Library Locations

    • Lionel Bowen Library and Community CentreBorrow it
      669-673 Anzac Parade, Marouba, NSW, 2035, AU
      -33.938111 151.237977
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