A Path of Stars

Anne Sibley O’Brien. Charlesbridge, $15.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-57091-735-6
Commissioned by the Maine Humanities Council, O’Brien (the Jamaica books) pens a tale about a Cambodian-American family, beginning with vibrant scenes of food and celebration, as young narrator Dara shares her grandmother’s reminiscences about life in her Asian homeland. “[I]n Cambodia, the air is so soft and warm that the stars glow like fireflies,” says Lok Yeay. The upbeat mood changes when Lok Yeay recalls “a day the birds stopped singing, a day the soldiers came.” Grandmother’s story does not go into graphic detail, but recounts that only she, her brother, and her baby daughter survived to walk to freedom in Thailand. A star motif permeates: the siblings use stars to guide their escape, and Dara, which means star, gently leads her grandmother out of grief when the family gets news of her brother’s death. Fuzzy-edged oil illustrations add a comfortable, familial feel that softens the story’s sadder elements. However, plenty of bright images are interspersed, and the narrative ends on a hopeful note. Many themes are woven into this book, but the value of family stands above the rest. Ages 5–8. Agent: Laura Rennert, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/19/2011
Release date: 02/01/2012
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 40 pages - 978-1-57091-736-3
Open Ebook - 40 pages - 978-1-60734-079-9
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