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Never Fall Down Hardcover – May 8, 2012
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“Powerfully, hauntingly unforgettable.” (Booklist (starred review))
“This compelling chronicle deserves to be widely read, discussed, and reflected upon by a generation of young people who may be largely unaware of this dark chapter in world history.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review))
“A gripping account of the inner turmoil of a child soldier.” (New York Times Book Review)
“McCormick’s novel is one that needs to be read.” (The Horn Book)
“One of the most inspiring and powerful books I’ve ever read. Never Fall Down can teach us all about finding the courage to speak our truth and change the world.” (Archbishop Desmond Tutu)
“Following the pattern of excellence McCormick began with her novel SOLD, she has created another amazing story through skilled and patient research.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) (Starred Review))
“Arn Chorn Pond is a fast-talking dynamo with endless energy and zest for life. In Never Fall Down, Patricia McCormick captures brilliantly the man, his heart, and his passion to make Cambodia and our world a better place for all. Arn’s against-all-odds survival story and McCormick’s crisp prose gripped me from the first page to the very end.” (Loung Ung, bestelling author of First They Killed My Father, and Lucky Child)
Praise for PURPLE HEART: “In this suspenseful psychological thriller…McCormick raises moral questions without judgment and will have readers examining not only this conflict but the nature of heroism and war.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
Praise for PURPLE HEART: “McCormick builds the plot subtly and carefully with rich, spare prose.” (Kirkus Reviews)
Praise for PURPLE HEART: “Gripping details of existence in a war zone bring this to life.” (ALA Booklist)
From the Back Cover
When soldiers arrive at his hometown in Cambodia, Arn is just a kid, dancing to rock 'n' roll, hustling for spare change, and selling ice cream with his brother. But after the soldiers march the entire population into the countryside, his life is changed forever. Arn is separated from his family and assigned to a labor camp: working in the rice paddies under a blazing sun, he sees the other children, weak from hunger, malaria, or sheer exhaustion, dying before his eyes. He sees prisoners marched to a nearby mango grove, never to return. And he learns to be invisible to the sadistic Khmer Rouge, who can give or take away life on a whim.
One day, the soldiers ask if any of the kids can play an instrument. Arn's never played a note in his life, but he volunteers. In order to survive, he must quickly master the strange revolutionary songs the soldiers demand—and steal food to keep the other kids alive. This decision will save his life, but it will pull him into the very center of what we know today as the Killing Fields. And just as the country is about to be liberated from the Khmer Rouge, Arn is handed a gun and forced to become a soldier. He lives by the simple credo: Over and over I tell myself one thing: never fall down.
Based on the true story of Arn Chorn-Pond, this is an achingly raw and powerful novel about a child of war who becomes a man of peace, from National Book Award finalist Patricia McCormick.
Check out the discussion guide [PDF] for Never Fall Down.
Top Customer Reviews
Arn Chorn-Pond was born into a family of performing musicians that owned and ran a famous opera in Cambodia. When the Khmer Rouge (a ruthless organization that was following the Communist Party of Kampuchea) came to power, Chorn-Pond (and hundreds other children) was separated from his family and sent away to a work camp, where all the kids were forced to work in rice fields from sunrise to late night hours. Starved, terrified and growing weaker with every passing day, Chorn-Pond witnessed people dying all around him: from exhaustion and starvation, from sickness (like malaria), or simply being executed by the Khmer Rouge "Camrades" (for having too pale a skin, or too soft hands, or for not working hard enough). He had to learn how to bottle up his emotions, how to make himself numb and desensitized to all the death and horrors around him. He had to adapt and find a way to survive. Later on, Chorn-Pond and a group of other boys were chosen to play propaganda songs for the camp soldiers.Read more ›
Don't steer away from this book because it is troubling to read. It's an important record of the crimes of the Khmer Rouge.
(I think Never Fall Down might be a little too disturbing for some young, sensitive teenagers because of graphic descriptions of murder and suffering.)
Aw koon chaan(thank you)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wonderful book. Well written. Based on true story of one young boy's experience with the Khymr Rouge.Published 1 month ago by Susan S Chenven
An excellent book and a should read. The story is riveting and the fact that it is true makes it more unbelievable. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Marilyn A. Land
This is something I don't think you learn about in school and it should be taught. I recommend this book to people older than 13.Published 2 months ago by Henry Kirkpatrick
I've been to Cambodia and visited the 'killing fields'. It is hard for a westerner to understand the travesty of the Khamer Rouge. Read morePublished 2 months ago by t
As I did not know very much about Cambodia or The war with the factions, over control of these regionsPublished 3 months ago by sparv
This was a gripping book about a brutal time in Cambodia... the 70's, the Khemer Rouge and the Killing Fields. Read morePublished 4 months ago by gracecat