In the Shadow of the Sun

In the Shadow of the Sun

North Korea is known as the most repressive country on Earth, with a dictatorial leader, a starving population, and harsh punishment for rebellion.

Not the best place for a family vacation.

Yet that's exactly where Mia Andrews finds herself, on a tour with her aid-worker father and fractious older brother, Simon. Mia was adopted from South Korea as a baby, and the trip raises tough questions about where she really belongs. Then her dad is arrested for spying, just as forbidden photographs of North Korean slave-labor camps fall into Mia's hands. The only way to save Dad: get the pictures out of the country. Thus Mia and Simon set off on a harrowing journey to the border, without food, money, or shelter, in a land where anyone who sees them might turn them in, and getting caught could mean prison -- or worse.

An exciting adventure that offers a rare glimpse into a compelling, complicated nation, In the Shadow of the Sun is an unforgettable novel of courage and survival.--from the publisher

336 pages   978-0545905749   Ages  9-13


Mia and Simon are traveling in North Korea with their father, who works with various entities in that country to provide humanitarian food relief. While Mia, who was adopted from South Korea, is enjoying being in a country where everyone looks like her and so doesn't look AT her, Seth is being difficult in the wake of a breakup and bad choices back home. When Mia sees her father sneak out of the room late at night, she's a little concerned, since security is so rigid in the country, and when she opens up a gift and finds a cell phone with incriminating pictures of conditions in South Korea, she is even more worried. When they are visiting one site, their father is taken away in handcuffs, and Mia and Seth make the snap decision that their only option is to run and try to make it to China on their own. Not surprisingly, this doesn't go smoothly, even with Mia's well stocked back pack. There are injuries, people chasing them, and a very difficult road to get to China. Once there, how will they begin to get their father released? Strengths: Not only was this extremely information about North Korea, but it was a great adventure. The sibling relationship was also nicely done. It reminded me a bit of Senzei's A Ticket to India, with just as many perils to be faced. The notes from the author about the time she spent in the country with her family, and the research that she did to plot the escape were very interesting. This was a little on the long side, but kept me turning the pages. A great companion to Nine Days or Ryan Quinn. Weaknesses: As much as I would like my students to want to know more about countries in the world, they don't. Still, I think the action and adventure will sell this. What I really think: Still bothered by the children's decision to run instead of seeking help, still really want to stock up on pain reliever, protein bars, and thermal blankets and carry them everywhere with me. but really liked this one! Great cover and great adventure, with a nice multicultural aspect.

336 pages   978-0545905749   Ages  9-13

Recommended by;  Karen Yingling, Library Specialist, Ohio USA

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