by Anne Sibley O'Brien, read by Jackie Chung
North Korea, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), has been in our news feeds much too often lately for all the wrong reasons. We hear much about the country's leader and its nuclear capabilities, however, we know very little about daily life in the closed, dictatorial nation.
Anne Sibley O'Brien has lived in South Korea, speaks Korean, and has done extensive research to create this middle-grade thriller about two siblings who are attempting to escape the country after their father, a humanitarian volunteer, has been seized by the police. Mia is an adopted Korean girl and has little in common with her tall, blond, blue-eyed brother. But while she may be a minority in her Connecticut hometown, her appearance will prove to be an asset in Korea.
In the Shadow of the Sun could not be a more timely book, and it should appeal to readers of many genres. It features family dynamics, sibling rivalry, travel, adventure, thrills, mystery, identity politics. It's relatively short, just under 9 hours and worth your time.
The publisher suggests Grades 4-7. Lexile is 700.
I reviewed this book for AudioFile Magazine. Read my full review of In the Shadow of the Sun at AudioFile Magazine.
The audio snippet provided by the publisher on AudioFile Magazine's site, is from the author's foreword—not from the contents of the books itself, which is read by Jackie Chung. The author's foreword and notes are well worth a listen, however. It's clear that she is very passionate about depicting North Korean life as accurately as possible.
For more information:
Link to the CIA's The World Factbook page on the DPRK.