Children of the River

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Overview

Grades 7 and up


Sundara fled Cambodia with her aunt's family to escape the Khmer Rouge army when she was thirteen, leaving behind her parents, her brother and sister, and the boy she had loved since she was a child.

Now, four years later, she struggles to fit in at her Oregon high school and to be "a good Cambodian girl" at home. A good Cambodian girl never dates; she waits...

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Children of the River

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Overview

Grades 7 and up


Sundara fled Cambodia with her aunt's family to escape the Khmer Rouge army when she was thirteen, leaving behind her parents, her brother and sister, and the boy she had loved since she was a child.

Now, four years later, she struggles to fit in at her Oregon high school and to be "a good Cambodian girl" at home. A good Cambodian girl never dates; she waits for her family to arrange her marriage to a Cambodian boy. Yet Sundara and Jonathan, an extraordinary American boy, are powerfully drawn to each other. Haunted by grief for her lost family and for the life left behind, Sundara longs to be with him. At the same time she wonders, Are her hopes for happiness and new life in America disloyal to her past and her people?

Having fled Cambodia four years earlier to escape the Khmer Rouge army, seventeen-year-old Sundara is torn between remaining faithful to her own people and enjoying life in her Oregon high school as a "regular" American.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Sundara Sovann, a Cambodian refugee, fled from the Khmer Rouge army when she was 13. Living with her aunt and uncle in the U.S., also ``boat people,'' she doesn't know what has happened to the rest of her family. Four years after her arrival, she is still haunted by the death of her infant cousin, with whose care she was entrusted on the nightmarish boat trip. And she still hasn't adjusted to the new culture. Torn between the Cambodian customs she is supposed to live up to at home, and the need to assimilate at high school, Sundara knows she shouldn't even be talking to American boys. Then she falls in love with Jonathan, a handsome football player. The resolution comes smoothly and plausibly, offering a pleasant and moving look at the way in which a survivor of great tragedy, having confronted overwhelming changes in her life, faces young adulthood. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
* "A powerful first novel....A book to change readers' eyes and hearts."— Pointer, Kirkus Reviews

• "Crew salutes the basic goodness of humankind which triumphs in some way even under the most inhumane circumstances."— Starred, School Library Journal

"A moving look at the way in which a survivor of a great tragedy, having confronted overwhelming changes in her life, faces young adulthood." — Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385296908
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 3/1/1989
  • Pages: 224

Meet the Author

"The approach I take with my writing is to have my work reflect real life, and yet be shaped into the best story possible. I feel that a powerful piece of fiction can often convey an emotional truth more compellingly than a strictly factual version."—Linda Crew

Linda Crew is a recipient of the IRA Children's Book Award and the Golden Kite Award, and her books have been named ALA Notables as well as ALA Best Books.

Linda Crew didn't always have to be a writer. In fact, while attending junior high school in the early sixties, this award-winning author wanted to be a folksinger. By high school, when it bad become apparent to her that she really couldn't sing, she decided to become an actress. Then, at the University of Oregon, her theatrical ambitions evaporated. At her mother's suggestion, Crew switched her major to journalism—and loved it.

Crew's training was in journalism—interviewing, researching, and marketing—and she was encouraged to present the facts accurately and without fuss. But her assigmnents always ended up full of dialogue and she "had this compelling urge to make a story just a little better than the way it happened." Thus, her talent for writing fiction was born.

After college, Linda Crew married her husband Herb and settled on a farm in her home state of Oregon, where the couple still resides today with their three children. Crew leads a full, busy life and admits, "It's difficult sometimes to carve out the time for writing with so many other demands, but it's important for me to do some living. After all, what could a person possibly write about if she spent all day closeted in front of her computer?"

Book List

Long Time Passing

Children of the River
An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
An IRA Children's Book Award
A Golden Kite Award
New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age

Fire on the Wind
Maine Student Book Award Master List 1996-1997
Vermont Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award Master List 1996-1997

Nekomah Creek
An ALA Notable Children's Book

Nekomah Creek Christmas

Author Fun Facts

Previous jobs:
Florist, mail carrier, visitor center receptionist for the Forest Service at Cape Perpetua

Pets: One lively black cat named Goblin

Favorite . . .

.. . hobbies? I like theater. I enjoy working with dried flowers, also sewing, especially creative things like doll clothes and costumes. I am notorious in my house for going overboard on costumes!

. . . foods? chocolate!

. . . clothes to wear? jeans or long dresses

. . . colors? green, of course! I'm an Oregonian.

. . . books? good children's books

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 80 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(52)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(11)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(3)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 80 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    good book

    Very good book. It is fiction but based on a real life war and customs of certain cultures. It made me glad to be me and live in this time. It's sad and makes you want to hope for the best when you know you'll only see the worst. To be torn away from everything you know and and everyone you love must be very hard and it was hard not to get emotional when reading parts of this book. If you have read this and didn't feel a thing there must be something wrong in your compassion department. Overall I say read it if you already haven't. I read this in jr. high and I enjoyed reading it again at the age of 22

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2009

    7th grader view

    We read this book for lit groups and it was amazing! It is a lot of love and emotional feelings. This book keeps you on your seat. I didn't like that most of the names were Khmer so they were hard to pronounce or even hard to read. This is a great book and i recommend it to people looking for a great love story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2014

    Im a junior in high school

    I had to read this book for part of my english class and it was horrible it hated it she only thoguht that the guy was good looking and she didnt mention anything else other than that if i had to put 0 stars i would put 0 stars but i had to put one i do not reccomend it to annyone dont waste ur money on it not a good read y did they even publish this book!!!!!!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2012

    I

    I had to read this book for school. I liked reading it to learn about the history of cambodia. I had never even known about what happened there. I thought sundara was a good protagonist because she had a lot of internal conflict. But i thought the romance was a little underdeveloped. I dont really get what sundara saw in jonathan other than that he was good looking.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2011

    T

    Worst book in the wholevworld

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2011

    Remember this book for life

    I read this book ten years ago when I was in seventh grade and it has stuck with me all these years!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2008

    Truley a School Book

    I read this for reading class and it is okay. The plot line isn't exciting but it isn't pointless. I had to read it for school and I liked it enough I didn't hate reading it. I would reccomend reading it if you want a quick read...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2008

    From a 7th grade student's view

    This book was okay but could be better. It was interesting at some points but other points literally but me to sleep. The ending leaves you wondering and the last five chapters were boring. It was okay but not the best book that i have ever read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2008

    ok book

    This book was ok it gets boring at some parts but the overall story is ok

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2008

    so-so!

    i thought ths was a gd book but it was a little boring in some parts i loved the scene on th boat but it aws kind of corny sundra aws kind of everywhere though she would love jonathon but then she would be a men and mad

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2007

    Horrible

    I am very disappointed with this book. It was not interesting, exciting, suspenseful, or even somewhat good. It was just a poorly written book in my opinion. There was no good storyline and the ending was left in the open. Not to be stereotypical, but if you a girl you will probably enjoy this more than a boy. In my class we had to read it and all of the guys thought it was boring while the girls LOVED the romance.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2007

    A reviewer

    This book demonstrates the great and terrible aspects of life and just how hard it is to cope with them. The main characater, Sundara has a strong sense of courage trying to preserve her traditions and culture of Cambodia, while also trying to adapt to a new American lifestle. She goes against many of her fears and still is able to give space to what she truly desires from within her heart.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2007

    It's okay.

    My seventh grade geography teacher gave me this book to read, while I was out of the country. I mean it meant well, but I was disappointed. The hardships before their journey to America and the language barrier I can understand, but I was put off by the romance between Jonathan. It felt out of place and it ended up consuming the rest of the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2006

    This book is soooo good

    This book made me laugh and cry. It's so awsome.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2006

    LOVE IT!!!

    I loved this book. It was an assigned book when I was in junior high and at first I thought it wouldn't be very enjoyable, but it turned out to be one of the best books I have read. It made me cry at least three times. Must read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2006

    The Best Book Anyone Can REad!!

    this book starts out weird but then it really gets interesting. this book keeps your hopes up until the end. it has a powerful message that evolves slowly but it captivates all readers.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2006

    A great book to read

    The book ¿Children of the River¿ was one fine book. It was like a journey through the past with romance, and action. It was about a girl named Sundara who had to move away from her county because of a war in Cambodia. Sundara had to make a choice between her family, and an American boy named Jonathan, she liked. So I recommend that everybody read this book. It will make you think about things like Sundara really had a bad time of it, or my life isn¿t bad after all, it will change your thinking. Today people in the world still have to live like they did in the story. At first, you may think the book is boring but it not, it gets better later. During the war in Cambodia, Sundara had to go with her aunt to the United States. While Sundara was in school in the United States people were dying in Cambodia for no reason. If you really think about it, things like that are probably still going on somewhere right now. Also, in her culture, she had to marry someone her parents choose even if she was in love with someone else. Arranged marriages still go on today in other cultures. The best part of the book was the romances in the middle of the book, which is about Sundara and Jonathan they were trying to sneak out at night. Sundara was the main character in the story. She was a very quiet girl that didn¿t know how to speak in English that well until later.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2005

    This is book is recommended for all the Cambodians!!

    Every Cambodian has a story to tell about the Khmer Rouge war and how they are living in America now.We may be living in America, but still have to obey our cultural rules!Errr.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2005

    The BEST BOOK EVER!!!!

    right when i started the 1st chapter, i couldn't put it down. My mom had to tell me 4 times at night to stop reading the book and go to sleep. they should make a squeal of this book. i was so sad when the book ended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2005

    Read it, You'll love it!

    I love this book. It is my favorite book of all time! Of course I'm a romance freak. But take my word for it, YOU WON'T PUT IT DOWN!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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