Monday, June 22, 2009

FIRST THEY KILLED MY FATHER Recommended for College Bound and Lifelong Learners by Young Adult Library Association

Loung Ung's memoir First They Killed My Father is a book that the staff at HarperAcademic feel very passionate about. If you are not familiar with this title, it is a riveting narrative of war, desperate actions, and the unnerving strength of a child and her family. Ung lived in Phnom Penh, one of seven children of a high-ranking government official. When Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge army stormed into Phnom Penh in April 1975, her family was forced to flee their home. Eventually, they dispersed in order to survive; with Ung trained as a child soldier in a work camp for orphans while her other siblings were sent to labor camps. Only after the Vietnamese destroyed the Khmer Rouge were Ung and her surviving siblings slowly reunited.

The accolades for First They Killed My Father continue. The book was just included on the 2009 Outstanding Books for the College Bound and Lifelong Learners, compiled by the Young Adult Library Association, and the book will listed as a recommended title until 2014.

In addition, Lizz Graham, a sophomore at Judge Memorial Catholic High School, was named the state winner of the Letters about Literature contest sponsored by the Library of Congress. For the competition, students were asked to write a personal letter to an author, living or dead, from any genre--fiction or nonfiction, contemporary or classic--explaining how that author’s work changed the students’ way of thinking about the world or themselves. Graham wrote to Loung Ung.

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