Free Reading Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North KoreaAuthor Sungju Lee –

Gr Lee pens his harrowing journey from one of North Korea s city elite to a homeless and hungry vagrant Lee, an only child, grew up comfortably in the nation s capital of Pyongyang because his father was a well respected member of the military Yet with no warning, the boy and his parents were deported to the countryside Lee, who had known only the strict rituals and decorum of Pyongyang, was initially horrified by life in Gyeong seong Mass hunger, public executions, and unemployment were rampanta stark contrast to the propaganda Lee had been taught his whole life Forced by starvation, Lee s parents left him in search of commerce or emigration He fended for himself for almost five years His struggle is chronicled in a tightly written first person narrative Lee would eventually lead a gang of boys who lived by their wiles, stealing just enough to survive The tension that runs throughout the narrative is somewhat alleviated by the mere existence of the work Lee provides a summary of the history of Korea and the politics of the famine in North Korea, achieving a great balance between historical context and storytelling Lee incorporates Korean words throughout the text and defines them with a pronunciation guide in the back matter VERDICT An excellent inside look at childhood in poverty that will resonate with middle schoolersAmy Thurow, New Glarus School District, WIA pampered son of the elite survives a nightmarish ordeal in this page turner of a memoir Kirkus