FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. In the late 1970s 12-year-old Dara joins a refugee camp in war-torn Cambodia and becomes separated from her family.
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Minfong Ho is an award winning Chinese America author. She writes books for children and young adults.From School Library Journal:
Grade 5-9-- After the fall of the Khmer Rouge, 12-year-old Dara, her older brother Sarun, and their mother journey to the Thai border in search of food. Here they meet the remnants of another Cambodian family, one of whose members, Jantu, becomes Dara's friend; another, Nea, falls in love with Sarun. Life is going along well until infighting among neighboring guerrilla groups forces the families to flee again. In the confusion, Dara and Jantu become separated from the main group. After many incidents, they are reunited with their families, although Jantu is shot in the process and dies soon after. Sarun, once a proud farmer, wants to join the military. Dara courageously stands up to him, and convinces him to return home with the family. The title comes from Jantu's effervescence and manual dexterity, the combination of which impresses Dara as magic. She believes a clay marble, having been invested with Jantu's magic, gives her the courage to get through her ordeals. Dara and Jantu are well drawn, but the rest of the characters are not much more than pasteboard figures. Ho excels at tropical description, evoking climate and flaura with skill. The contrasts of frantic activity and enervating inaction of refugee life are also vividly depicted. However, Dara's vocabulary when she thinks to herself does not ring true for her age; few 12-year-olds would consciously characterize themselves as "irritable" or others as "glib"--certainly not illiterate 12-year-olds from rural areas. Older children might find this novel of interest for its historical milieu or slice-of-life realism, albeit from a different reality. --John Philbrook, San Francisco Public Library
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Book Description Turtleback Books. Turtleback. Book Condition: Fair. Ex-Library Book - will contain Library Markings. Bookseller Inventory # G0606057889I5N10
Book Description Demco Media, 1993. Book Condition: Very Good. Sunburst ed. Great condition for a used book! Minimal wear. Bookseller Inventory # GRP76747213
Book Description Demco Media, 1993. Turtleback. Book Condition: Used: Good. Sunburst ed. Bookseller Inventory # SONG0606057889