Always with You

Overview

After her mother is killed by an explosion that also destroys her Vietnam village, four-year-old Kim is alone and afraid. Eventually, she is rescued by soldiers who bring her to an orphanage.

Surrounded by the love of the couple who run the orphanage, the companionship of the children who live there, and her mother’s promise, “I will always be with you,” Kim finds the strength and courage to survive.

This picture book for older readers, based ...

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Overview

After her mother is killed by an explosion that also destroys her Vietnam village, four-year-old Kim is alone and afraid. Eventually, she is rescued by soldiers who bring her to an orphanage.

Surrounded by the love of the couple who run the orphanage, the companionship of the children who live there, and her mother’s promise, “I will always be with you,” Kim finds the strength and courage to survive.

This picture book for older readers, based on a true story from the Vietnam War, portrays the hope that exists in even the most desperate situations. Poignant illustrations capture the perseverance of the human spirit and the power of kindness.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Young Kim remembers her mother's last words, "I will always be with you." She heard them when she was four years old, and her village in Vietnam was bombed. All color left her life that day. Soldiers found her and brought her to an orphanage, where she began to feel safe. Still, five years later, Kim keeps recalling her mother's words. As she goes to school, makes friends, and is supported by Mr. and Mrs. Jones, who run the orphanage, color returns to her life. Pencil drawings at first depict her gray reality after her mother's death and her rescue by the American soldiers. Himler's watercolors produce the emotions behind Kim's visual story, becoming more colorful when they show the other children at the orphanage and Kim's improving life there. The illustrations look forward to a brighter future after the horrible events in Vietnam. A note provides factual information behind the story. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

Gr 3-4

Toshi Maruki's Hiroshima no Pika (HarperCollins, 1982) and Eleanor Coerr's Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes (Putnam, 2002) are outstanding examples of books that try to describe the horrors and inhumanity of war in ways that children would understand. On a lesser scale of strength, this picture book takes a tragedy experienced by a four-year-old and makes it a universal story about being alone and afraid. When her village in Vietnam is bombed, Kim remembers her mother's dying words, "I will always be with you." She holds to them when she is struck on the head by a gun; when she is found, hungry and almost blind, by friendly soldiers; and when she is taken to an orphanage where she is cared for and loved. The pencil and watercolor illustrations are admirably suited to the text: Kim's expressions, the gray lines of marching soldiers, and the devastated land do more to deglorify warfare than any amount of adult preaching, just as the sight of her softly weeping in her bed and being reassured by the orphanage house mistress conveys her longing for her mother better than words would. This is a good book to use in classroom discussions of war, of what happens to the children, or, more specifically, of the Vietnam War and how it was that so many Vietnamese came to the United States.-Marian Drabkin, formerly at Richmond Public Library, CA

Kirkus Reviews
"Kim, come to me." "Don't be afraid." "I will always be with you." These three sentences are the only words Kim remembers her mother saying. Only four years old when bombs fall on her village in Vietnam, destroying her home, damaging her eyesight and killing her mother, Kim is brought by kind soldiers to an orphanage in China Beach. Supported by the couple who run the orphanage, over time Kim begins to adjust to her new life, and although she grieves, she makes a new friend, learns to write and starts to play. There is not enough to eat, bombs explode in the distance and she cannot see color; yet she is able to feel safe and secure because she can still hear her mother's words. Based on a true story, this story documents the hardships of war in a personal way that older children will undoubtedly understand. Includes an author's note regarding Kim's travels to the U.S. for surgery and eventual adoption, as well as a general background on the Vietnam War. (Picture book. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802852953
  • Publisher: Eerdmans Pub Co
  • Publication date: 3/1/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 689,536
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.40 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Ruth Vander Zee, teacher and author, has also written Erika's Story, illustrated by Roberto Innocenti (Creative Editions), and Mississippi Morning, illustrated by Floyd Cooper (Eerdmans). Ruth lives in Miami, Florida.

Ronald Himler is an accomplished artist who has illustrated more than 150 children's books, including The Wall by Eve Bunting (Clarion). He lives in Tucson, Arizona.

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