Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea by Sungju Lee (2017)

every falling starThis tense, heartbreaking true story about a boy’s struggle to survive on the streets of North Korea offers a rare glimpse into a country shrouded in mystery.

Recommended grade level: 6 and up

Pages:   336 (for ISBN 9781419721328)

Genre(s) and keywords: nonfiction, memoir, survival, diverse, dystopian, current events, Kylie’s favorites

Tone/Style: grim, determined

Pace: moderate to fast

Topics: North Korea, gangs, orphans, poverty

Themes: loyalty, trust, injustice, family, friendship

Summary: 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.  (Source)

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5 to 1 by Holly Bodger (2015)

5to1A dystopian society, Indian culture, and feminist commentary combine to make this a unique read.

Recommended grade level: 7-10

Pages:  244 (for ISBN 9780385391535)

Genre(s) and keywords: dystopian, verse, diverse, Asia (India, fictionalized)

Tone/Style: bleak, determined

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Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart (2016)

some kindA classic-style Western for a new generation.

Recommended grade level: 4-8

Pages: 234 (for ISBN 9780545665773)

Genre(s) and keywords: adventure, Western, historical fiction

Tone/Style: determined, folksy

Pace: moderate

Topics: human/animal relationships, the Wild West, friendship

Themes: loyalty to family, grief, doing the right thing, never giving up

Summary: Joseph Johnson has lost just about everyone he’s ever loved. He lost his pa in an accident. He lost his ma and his little sister to sickness. And now, he’s lost his pony-fast, fierce, beautiful Sarah, taken away by a man who had no right to take her. Continue reading

My Life in Pink and Green by Lisa Greenwald (2009)

mylifeinpinkandgreenA light read about a seventh grade girl who hopes to turn her skill in makeup artistry into a business that can save her family’s pharmacy.

Recommended grade level: 4-7

Pages: 272 (for ISBN 9780810983526)

Genre(s) and keywords: realistic fiction, chick lit

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