In the Shadow of the Sun — 7 Comments

  1. Looking at the cover art on this one, my first impression of what the story would be ended up being nothing like the actual plot line. North Korea seems like a tricky subject to choose given just how shrouded the reality of the country is. That said, I appreciated the short snippets that included the perspective of North Korean citizens and felt it was very useful in tying the story together as the main characters progress in their adventure. I would have liked to see the North Korean perspective take more precedence in a book so heavily involved with main characters foreign to their surroundings.
    The development of the main character and her brother was well done and I appreciated how each of them grew and made discoveries. The inherent conflicts regarding international adoption were thoroughly and thoughtfully expressed, and I really appreciated the perspective of the main character experiencing the autonomy of “fitting in” at a glance in a way she can’t experience back home.

  2. I like books about adventures and relationships with families. The siblings seemed to learn about each other. I have students interested in other cultures and felt they could learn much about North Korea. I think books that talk about adoption, courage, survival and not fitting in are great reads for kids. I am glad that I purchased this one for our library. This could be used for many discussions.

  3. Whew! This is an intense book about a dad and his two kids on vacay in North Korea (his daughter is Korean and adopted) and they get captured and escape to China. The daughter finds out more about herself and how she feels being around so many people like her. Gets to understand her adopted family better too. She uses her experience with video games as a reference on how to survive.

  4. This book held my interest, and I found myself wondering throughout my non-reading time how Mia and Simon would handle their next adventure or challenge. These American siblings find themselves stranded in North Korea and spend a couple of weeks trying to survive as they make their way to the Chinese border for safety. I found the challenges of these siblings reminiscent of the book Hatchet.
The main character, Mia, is 12 years old. At times, to me, she seemed more mature than her age. However, the author did well by allowing us to see her struggles and the challenges she had wanting to please and be accepted by her older, teenage brother.

I found myself often questioning the possibility of this scenario happening in real life. Although it would be a highly unlikely, it was good to read that the author did extensive research and consulted with experts about the content of the book.

North Korea is obviously a country currently in the headlines. The author has a very good, easy to understand, well-outlined timeline of the history of North Korea and description of the current state of the country. An educator could use just this intro as a way to help students with a foundational understanding of this mysterious country.

One unique feature is the short storylines of a North Korean character interspersed throughout the book. North Korea can seem like a scary, cold place. Yet the short character stories help the reader to see and feel the human side of its people.

I would recommend this book for mature, upper elementary to early middle school students. I believe it would appeal to both boys and girls. The book does contain some minor language that parents and teachers should be aware of.

  5. I think this was one of my very favorite books to read on the list! I loved the high adventure, it made it a fast and exciting read. I loved the character development between the sister and her brother. I love how the siblings need to rely on each other’s strengths for survival in North Korea. I’m glad to find another book with adoption in the story, in a positive way. I thought the storyline was clever and well-written. I highly recommend it to not only 4th-6th grade readers, but also adults.

  6. I had a hard time getting “into” this book. Once I got a bit further through the book, I did enjoy the story. It would go well with a lesson about North and South Korea or traveling to a foreign country. Also, a discussion with how it feels to be treated differently than others. I enjoyed “watching” how the siblings came to understand each other better throughout the trials and tribulations of the story.

  7. I thought this book was just okay. It would go well with a lesson about current events and North Korea. However, the main character was not very likeable and I did not think it seemed very authentic. Other discussions with this book could include topics about adoption, feelings of not fitting in, and sibling relationships.

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