Rice from Heaven: The Secret Mission to Feed North Koreans by Tina Cho, illustrated by Keum Jin Song

Published by little bee books

Image result for rice from heaven tina cho amazon

Image result for rice from heaven tina cho amazon

Summary:  A girl and her father work with a group from their church to send rice from their home in South Korea to hungry people in North Korea.  The girl’s father grew up in North Korea before escaping to the south, and has told her what it was like growing up without enough to eat. Their group fills and ties bags of rice to balloons that they will launch over the border.  As they work, some of the villagers try to stop them, telling them that they’re helping the enemy. But the girl defends them, saying that the children of North Korea are so hungry they eat grass and bark from trees; her words seem to cause a change of heart in at least one of the boys.  At the end, they launch their balloons into the night sky. The group won’t ever know if their food reaches its destination, but the girl envisions children waking up in the morning to find rice from heaven. Includes information about this event, which the author took part in, additional facts about the history of Korea and its division into two countries, and a list for additional reading.  40 pages; grades K-4.

Pros:  Kids will be fascinated by this unusual story, and will learn a lot about both North and South Korea, particularly if they read all the back matter.  The luminous illustrations are realistic but have a slightly surreal, dreamy quality to them.

Cons:  Some parts of the girl’s storytelling come across as a bit stilted.

If you would like to buy this book on Amazon, click here.

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