Thursday, May 12, 2011

Kansas Children's Writers Can Write!: Escaping the Tiger

Welcome to the inaugural Kansas Children's Writers Can Write! feature of my blog. First off, I have to mention Moon Over Manifest, by Kansas writer Clare Vanderpool. It won the 2010 Newbery Medal. Read it! 'Nuff said.

So now let me turn your attention to another book published in 2010: Escaping the Tiger, by Laura Manivong.

The stakes couldn't be higher for Vonlai Sarivong and his family as they risk death crossing the Mekong River at night to escape Laos and its brutal regime. But Vonlai's trials have only just begun. On arrival in Thailand he must now survive on starvation rations in the Na Pho refugee camp, where many have languished for years.

Vonlai shoulders family responsibilities, including watching over his older sister Dalah who has caught the eye of Tiger Tong, one of the camp's capricious and cruel guards.

Richly detailed and vividly imagined, this novel is transporting in may ways. And although the premise and much of its taut action is grim, the novel is a study in making the most of what you have, revising hopes, and sustaining a vision of a positive future.

Manivong's novel is based on that of her now-husband, Troy Manivong. Kirkus Review called it "essential" and the book has earned a spot in the 2011 edition of Best Books of the Year for 9-12 year olds (coming of age category).

I know I had you at Kansas Children's Writers Can Write, but now you have two books to go get.