Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea

By: Sungju Lee

Susan Elizabeth McClelland

This 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. Letter from the author. A brief history of twentieth-century Korea. Glossary.

ISBN: 9781419721328

JLG Release: Oct 2016


Sensitive Areas: Violence, Harsh realities of deprivation
Topics: Sungju Lee , Memoir , Childhood and youth , Family , Boys , North Korea , Biography , Homeless boys , Street children , Prison camps , Survival , Cultural heritage , People and places , Asia , Social issues , Homelessness and poverty , History of North Korea, 1994–2011

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Awards & Honors

2019 Red Maple Award Non-Fiction Winner
CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2017, 9–12
2017 Notable Books for a Global Society
Parents’ Choice Award Winner, Nonfiction Silver
2016 Cybils Award Winner, Young Adult Nonfiction

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)

School Library Journal

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 kno 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

Book Details

ISBN

9781419721328

First Release

October 2016

Genre

Nonfic

Dewey Classification

Trim Size

5 1/2" x 8 1/4"

Page Count

320

Accelerated Reader

Level 5.9; Points: 12;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 5.7; Points: 18;

Lexile

Level 880L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Amulet

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Violence, Harsh realities of deprivation

Topics

Sungju Lee, Memoir, Childhood and youth, Family, Boys, North Korea, Biography, Homeless boys, Street children, Prison camps, Survival, Cultural heritage, People and places, Asia, Social issues, Homelessness and poverty, History of North Korea, 1994–2011,

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