In the Shadow of the Sun

Anne Sibley O’Brien. Scholastic/Levine, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-545-90574-9
Twelve-year old Mia, adopted from South Korea and raised in Connecticut, has mixed feelings about her aid-worker father’s decision to take her and her older brother, Simon, on a tour of North Korea. After arriving there, she further questions the reasons behind the trip after witnessing her father attend late-night rendezvous and discovering an illegal cell phone containing shocking photographs of conditions in the political prisons. When her father is arrested and held by the government, Mia and Simon must find a way to escape to China. Though Mia is initially unobtrusive and meek, she proves to be resourceful and determined under pressure, taking charge, navigating, scouting for sustenance, and using her knowledge of Korean language and culture. In her first novel, picture book author O’Brien (I’m New Here) presents a nuanced portrayal of North Korea; the government is restrictive and the police force divided, but the citizens’ complex perspectives and attitudes are revealed in thoughtful, interspersed dispatches. Mia’s reflections about being Korean in Connecticut versus in Korea are powerful, as is her assertion that she is “growing into both her names.” Ages 8–12. Agent: Lara Perkins, Andrea Brown Literary. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/24/2017
Release date: 06/27/2017
Compact Disc - 978-1-338-19417-3
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-5094-4560-8
Compact Disc - 978-1-5384-1378-4
MP3 CD - 978-1-5384-1379-1
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