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Children of the River

3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,357 Ratings  ·  173 Reviews
Sundara fled Cambodia with her aunt's family to escape the Khmer Rouge army when she was thirteen, leaving behind her parents, her brother and sister, and the boy she had loved since she was a child.

Now, four years later, she struggles to fit in at her Oregon high school and to be "a good Cambodian girl" at home. A good Cambodian girl never dates; she waits for her family
Paperback, 213 pages
Published August 1st 1991 by Laurel Leaf (first published 1989)
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Spray Paint Rising action: When Sundara has to, leave her home country to go to America, and meeting Jonathan.
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Jan 23, 2015 Mei rated it did not like it
I have no idea why my teacher made me read this. It's like twilight and a Cambodian history book mixed. Like WTF?! Apparently Jonathan is perfect and apparently the girl is as well. ALL the boys loveeee her even though she is poor and can't speak proper English. And what is with the aunt? Like even though I don't like the girl but why are you blaming her for your laziness and weakness? You're the mother you should have been taking care of the dam thing! O yah and of course there has to be a mean ...more
Allison Chan
May 01, 2013 Allison Chan rated it did not like it

First of all, there's FORBIDDEN ROMANCE, one of the most cliche, overused topics nowadays. And even worse, it's written so terribly that I can't stand it! And it has to work in the end! Why can't authors write tragic ends or something?!

Secondly, it's the whole I-came-from-another-country-and-meet-some-popular-guy-who-likes-me. Oh. My. Freaking. God. There's like the smallest of chances that that'll happen. Seriously. If I was the new kid, every single popular guy would
Apr 05, 2013 Ashlyn rated it did not like it
I didn't like this book. We read it in our language arts class and I despised having to read it every day. The plot is drawn out and boring and her aunt is really weird. I would not recommend this book.
Mar 11, 2016 Becca rated it really liked it
I read this book back in middle school, when it appeared on our summer reading list. I enjoyed the story then, but like other readers, I rolled my eyes a bit at the aunt's behavior. "Why couldn't she be more understanding?" I asked myself.

The story has stayed with me for over a decade after that initial reading, and it's aged beautifully. I see now how deeply and richly Linda Crew incorporated questions of love, loss, guilt, assimilation, and responsibility. I'm so glad I encountered this book i
Sep 09, 2009 Jamie rated it it was amazing
Children of the river by Linda Crew is another book with an immigration theme. The main character Sundara leaves Cambodia with her aunts family to escape the communist Khmer Rouge army and heads to the U.S. She is only thirteen and she leaves behind family including her parents, her brother, sister, and a boy she has cared about since she was young. She constantly struggles to fit in at her high school in Oregon, but at the same time, she struggles to keep some of her Cambodian traditions that ...more
Sep 07, 2009 Raphael rated it liked it
Children of the river by linda crew is a book That takes place in the 70s about a Cmbodian refuge girl fleeing from the kamer roge to america. Her name is Sundara and she left both her parents behind and leving with her aunt uncle and cousins to get on a crowdwed cargo boat, filled with hundereds of other refugies. With hardly anny food or water on the crowded boat sundaras aunt Soka asks her to take care of her baby on the boat. Unable to find anny food for the baby sundara is forced to throgh ...more
Kristine Kouba
Feb 10, 2010 Kristine Kouba rated it really liked it
Plot summary: The main character's family has fled from Cambodia to the United States. They wanted to escape the war, killings, and horror taking place in their country. This story shows how the Sundara, the main character adjusts to life in America

Main Characters: Sundara - long black hair, shy, teenager, learned French first, now is trying to learn English. In high school, wants to fit in, wants to adjust well to American traditions/ways, but wants and is pressured to stay true to her family's
Mar 05, 2012 06sydneyj rated it liked it
Shelves: book-reports
How would you like to be whisked away one night without your parents or knowing where your going? Then come to find out your going to a totally different country and all your friends and family are being killed by the second. This is what happened to Sandara, a Khmer girl from Cambodia, in the book "Children of the River" by Linda Crew. She is now a Junior in High school 4 years later and nothing has changed, things are still just as hard.

If trying to find new friends and fitting into a new cu
"Children of the River" tells the story of Sundara. A young Cambodian girl, she is staying with her aunt and uncle when the Khmer Rouge sweep to power and she has to flee to America. Sundara has to find a way to live in a new culture, and deal with meeting an American boy she likes but that her family disapproves of, without having any news about her loved ones back in Cambodia.

Story-wise this book is very interesting, and you do learn a lot about immigrant life in the USA in the 1970s. I also
Laken Scott
Apr 28, 2016 Laken Scott rated it it was amazing
Shelves: shelf-2b
This is one of those books you're pleasantly surprised by.

I had to read this book for school so I immediately assumed it would suck. Naturally. But as I got into it I really started to enjoy it. The whole refugee idea is something I don't hear much about and this book was very enlightening for me.

It also talked about customs of Cambodia and their traditional family structure which is so different from what we're used to.

This book was also a cheesy romance which (if I'm honest) are my guilty p
Jul 16, 2015 Karin rated it it was amazing
For many children of Immigrant families, attending school with children of local families can be a real struggle. In “Children of the River,” Sundara experiences this confliction. Her family escaped the genocide in Cambodia and now lives in the United States. They expect Sundara to let them choose a husband for her as they would in Cambodia. But in America, youth choose who they want to marry, and Sundara has fallen in love with an American boy.

Reading this book gave me a glimpse of what it’s li
Mar 27, 2014 Esther rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 31, 2008 Katie rated it it was ok
I swear I only read this because I found it on my bookshelf after the move and had nothing else. The Cambodian inmigrant falling in love with the high school football star was entertaining, but seriously... That's what I get for reading young adult's novels.
Alexis Wade
Apr 23, 2014 Alexis Wade rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book, it made me realize that people actually go through things like this. I loved the cute little love story in the book but also loved how they gave so much information about Cambodia and how they live there. I loved how the girl was so intelligent and made the Cambodians look really good. It was so sad listening to all her stories and knowing that this really happens to people and how cruel the world can be. The boy in the book was so cute even though I've never seen him h ...more
English Education
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Angus Whittaker
This was really not a good book. Linda Crew is, quite frankly, not a good writer. Her style is clumsy and cliched, and I had absolutely no sympathy/empathy for any of the characters. Sundara, the main character, was melodramatic and stupid, and her boyfriend was even worse. The teenage romance sucked.
The only reason I gave this 2 stars as opposed to 1 is that I guess some people may be looking for a young adult book about Cambodian refugees in America, and this would fill the bill. I can't imag
Jun 08, 2010 Larissa rated it it was amazing

Children of the River was a remarkable read that I will remember for years to come. Sundara, her aunt, her uncle and cousin flee Cambodia and the communist regime for safety. Oregon becomes their new terretory where they will adapt to the American ways. However, when Sundara's heart falls for the all-American football player Jonathan, she must choose between her customs and love. Her aunt places a hard hand on her shoulder which impacts her decisions greatly. She uses guilt and loy
Liza Centeio
Oct 02, 2008 Liza Centeio rated it liked it
Recommends it for: my aunt
Liza's Book Review

I just finished reading this book which is called Children Of The River whos author is Linda Crew. This book is fiction. You may not automaticaly pick this up when your reading it but this book has several themes. The themes that I picked up were families, the individual vs. society, race(culture), and romance. Your probably wondering how could a book have so much themes but It's possible just like this one.
I randomly choose this book off my teachers shelf so I can have an i
Jul 29, 2009 Brigitte rated it liked it
Children of the River is about a girl named Sundara who has moved to America to escape the war. She had to leave her family behind and went to live with her aunt and uncle. But when she meets an American boy at school, her new family does not like it. Sundara's main external conflict is the war going on in her homeland, her main internal conflict is that she has to choose between her families wishes and the boy she loves.
In the book I noticed many connections, One of them was a text to self c
Jennie Ziegler
Linda Crew’s Children of the River explores divides. Political, religious, cultural, and generational chasms guide us from war-torn Cambodia over to the calm of 1970s America. This particular story is not one I’ve read too much of in children’s/young adult literature (this book, I believe, could be in either category), and is not a particularly exciting read. It’s a rather introspective one—one children all across the world could access and identify with. For, it speaks to the difference of iden ...more
May 04, 2011 Moktoklee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book isn’t perfect, that’s for sure. There are some sluggish sections, but I think that Crew wanted the reader to recognize those parts and from that perspective, those parts do contributes to the story. I’ve never been a big fan of that kind writing but whatever, it’s not an illogical conclusion to draw. But other than those bits I quite liked this book. I suppose it’s classified as a ‘young-adults’ book, but when I read this a long time ago I had no idea who the communists or the Khmer Ro ...more
Imagine having to leave your family to a new country that is on the opposite side of the world. This is was happened to a young girl, Sundara Sovann, in Children of the River. The author Linda Crew writes about Sundara's life in America, after escaping the war torn county of Cambodia at the age of 13 because of the Khmer Rouge attack on her homeland. Sundara had to leave her parents, friends, siblings and Chamreoun - the boy she loved.
(view spoiler)
Patrick Peterson
Jun 24, 2012 Patrick Peterson rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Zelda Zara
Recommended to Patrick by: St. Andrews School 8th grade English
This book was on my son's summer reading list for going in to 8th grade. My wife read it and loved it. Arthur is almost finished with it and is enjoying it. I was totally captivated and so psyched that my son's English teacher required it. What a happy surprise.

1. Horror of communism - hinted and explicit - throughout the book. Perhaps understated in the details, but that still came across very powerfully

2. Difficulty of emigration & immigration

3. Cushy, shallow concerns of most non-i
Mar 11, 2012 02oliviab rated it really liked it
Children of the River
Children of the River is by Linda Crew and was published in 1989. This story takes place in Cambodia in 1975. If this story took place long long ago it would be a little different because there wouldn't be airplanes that can hold a lot of passengers safely, so they couldn't take the people in Cambodia to America. Also if it took place about right now, then there could be more planes to take people out of Cambodia to America.
The things I liked about this book is how Sundar
Mar 06, 2012 06Morgant rated it really liked it
Title of book: Children of the river

Author: Linda Crew

This is a book about a girl name Sundara and she was visating her aunt and uncle. But then they get a new govermant and everyone is leaving the city. Sundara and her aunt and uncle and cousiens go on a boat to america. 4 years pass and she lives in Oregan with out any note or letter that her parents are alive. Or the bot she youes to like.

She then meats a boy name Janothan. He is american and her aunt doesn't like the americans. Jo
Taya  Kennedy
Apr 24, 2012 Taya Kennedy rated it really liked it
Children of the River, written by award winning author Linda Crew, is a compelling story about a young girl named Sundara who is forced to flee her Cambodian home, to live in all too different America. As Sundara grows older, she watches the disasters of the Vietnam, and what it is doing to her country. During her early years in America, Sundara thinks it will be easy to maintain her cultures and traditions, but finds it difficult when she finds herself falling in love with a handsome young Amer ...more
May 25, 2012 Anna added it
"Children of the River" by Linda Crew is themed around refugees. Sundara has escaped from Cambodia, barely with her own life, and now she doesn't know where her family is. As a result, she moved to Oregon with her aunt. As you live with Sundara in the third person format, you see what a difficulty being a refugee can be. As Sundara struggles with her former culture, and her American opportunity, she meets Jonathan, which makes things even worse. They are both so attracted to each other, but he i ...more
Josh Stoll
Feb 11, 2010 Josh Stoll rated it liked it
Review: I enjoyed reading this book. It's not exactly the best-written book I've ever read, but the themes-- immigration, fitting in, interracial romance-- can be heady and its consideration of them are complex, particularly for a young adult novel. The writing can trip up the themes, though, as it's a bit too simplistic in plot, and even a bit dangerous in its consideration of love-- I picture the end scene of The Graduate whenever Sundara and Jonathan talked about love.
Plot: The story is about
Allie Brown
Feb 11, 2010 Allie Brown rated it liked it
This book follow a young girl who is forced to evacuate Cambodia with her aunt and uncle and cousins, leaving behind her own immediate family and crush. As she adjusts to life in America so does her extended family. Sundara is caught between life as a teenage refugee from her home land and life as an American teenager. She is forced to juggle between the traditions of her family and the new "bold" ways of American culture. Sundara finds love in the high school football star, Jonathon McKinnon... ...more
Emilie W
Feb 17, 2010 Emilie W rated it liked it
Shelves: required-reading
Sundara is a young Cambodian refugee that's adopted into her extended family after fleeing from their wartorn homeland. What she must leave behind is her family, her country, and her sweetheart. In America, she suffers from the pull between her Cambodian and American cultures. Readers will identify with her responsibilities as a young person growing up including her feelings of guilt, isolation, and anxiety. In this book, I could really appreciate the historical context and the reality of Sundar ...more
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My early books were for young readers, and perhaps my best-known is my first, Children of the River. Set against the backdrop of the Cambodian refugee crisis of 1979, it’s still used in schools and English-as-a-second-language classes across the country twenty-seven years since publication. My two most recent—Brides of Eden: a True Story Imagined and A Heart for Any Fate: Westward to Oregon 1845—w ...more
More about Linda Crew...

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