The House of Sixty Fathers
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The House of Sixty Fathers

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3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  1,650 ratings  ·  89 reviews
Tien Pao is all alone in enemy territory. Only a few days before, his family had escaped from the Japanese army, fleeing downriver by boat. Then came the terrible rainstorm. Tien Pao was fast asleep in the little sampan when the boat broke loose from its moorings and drifted right back to the Japanese soldiers. With only his lucky pig for company, Tien Pao must begin a lon...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published August 28th 1987 by HarperCollins (first published 1956)
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Chloe
Yaya: I wish that there were five stars, but nobody else wanted five stars. I find it was cool when Tien Pao floated away by the bulls in the water and he didn't notice that one of them undid the twig. So then, how did they float away? They floated away when the pig was running and Tien Pao was screaming and running at the same time. I found it scary when the man didn't try to get him when it was raining with the umbrella. It was funny when the two mans found him and it was funny when they took...more
Leslie
Jul 19, 2009 Leslie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: man, woman and child
Shelves: children-s-lit
Here's one I've picked up for my little guy's library. We can't resist a book with a shiny medal on the cover. I like to read kid books between my "grownup" books because they are easier to focus on during my "book hangovers". You know, when a particular book is so thought provoking that your mind is foggy with it's images and characters that it's rather hard to begin another book.
Okay, well now that I've read it I will declare it to be one of my new all time favorites. I can't believe I haven...more
Tess
Ugh. Had to read this book for school. Just so boring. :( Goes on and on and on about simple details.
Linda Lipko
A few years ago when reading The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II, I learned more about the extreme animosity Chinese people hold for the Japenese.

This 1957 Newbery Honor book reinforced what I learned. This is a tale of the Japenese invasion of China. As they systematically descerated the land, murdering the poor peasants, bullets shot throughout the air, finding helpless targets, and in the aftermath, red fire raged through the huts, burning livestock and people within....more
Tnb
This is of the types of books I read as a second, third and fourth grader in a communist country. I happen to like such books. Митко Палаузов и Овчарчето Калитко are the two books that come to mind. Now, this particular story has a sequence of low probability events so you have to be smart when reading it to differentiate the truth from the fiction, from what is likely and what is very unlikely to happen. So a lesson in that too. The book does contain a few scenes which can make you discuss war...more
Terri
A little boy in Japanese invaded China struggles for survival all alone except for the little pot bellied pig, that he has named, Glory of the Republic, that he carries with him tucked under his arm.

While reading this gripping and endearing story of this little boy, the reader also gets a fascinatingly told history of Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945). The little boy, Tien Pao, alone in the family's sampan (boat), is swept away down river with his duckling and pot bellied pig.

In this edge of...more
Brianna
My favorite book last year in school - it was so interesting.
Emily Hughes
After about 50 pages I was not very impressed. every description was absurdly repetitive. It seemed like for every sentence there was a second with the same content with different words, like a translation. I think DeJong needs to invest in a thesaurus. The word sampan appeared probably ten times on every page for the first half of the book. I just once wanted to see the word boat in its place. (no such luck)

As the story progressed there was more action and was not so boring or redundant to read...more
Josiah
Meindert DeJong is one of the great authors at writing interesting, emotionally involved stories for younger readers, using the kind of uncomplicated sentence structures that have universal appeal while also serving as a superb introduction to fine literature.

The House of Sixty Fathers is a classic type of adventure book, with the main character Tien Pao becoming hopelessly separated from his parents in China near the story's beginning. Danger surrounds the boy at every turn; the Japanese army...more
Christina
By Meindert Dejong total Pages:208

The book The House Of Sixty Fathers by Meindert Dejong is about a young boy named Tien pao who lived in a small town in China but had 2 leave because the Japanese were coming to attack. Tien Pao lives with his mother and father but they leave him alone everyday in the sampan which is like a small little hut. After many days of being in the sampan alone Tien Pao gets used to the same routines and kind of lifestyle he now lives everyday. But one day some water b...more
Wynnie
The House of Sixty Fathers is a book I listed with the theme of war and overcoming adversity in a reading list I compiled recently. Teaching lower secondary students, I wanted to expand my knowledge of Young Adult (YA) fiction which explains my foray into them. I had this book for a while, but bumped it up my reading list to commemorate the passing of its illustrator, Maurice Sendak. I bought his book from the local independent bookstore that specialises in picture books, www.woodsinthebooks.sg,...more
Matthew
Separated from his parents and set adrift on a river in Japanese occupied China, Tien Pao learns the meaning of extreme hunger and exhaustion as he tries to find his way back to Hengyang, the city he drifted away from. He sets out on land, trekking through barren plains and scraggly foothills with only his family pig as company. One day he finds an injured American airman and helps him escape from a company of Japanese soldiers who saw the plane crash. Before these two get very far they are capt...more
Timothyl
What I remember most distinctly about this story was that I've never gotten hungry by reading before, but this book so clearly tells the woes of being without food. DeJong has written a few weirdly captivating kids' stories (The Wheel on the School, Shadrach, etc.) but this one crowns them easily. We, as readers, are emotionally invested in our hero from the first page. Young Tien Pao and his pet piglet are caught up in the terrible violence of the second world war, and he is separated from his...more
Elise
This book broke my stupid heart. I don't know how the kids are going to like but this book confirms to me that Meindert DeJong is one of the giants in children's literature.

This is a non-sentimental story of a Chinese boy during the second Sino-Japanese war. Their village is destroyed by Japanese invaders and the family escapes in a "borrowed" sampan- sort of a houseboat. They escape upriver to safety but a storm breaks the moorings and the boy, his pet pig and the sampan are swept away back do...more
Natalie
Dec 05, 2009 Natalie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Natalie by: Newberry Honor, NEH Classics
Tien Pao is all alone behind enemy lines. He had fled with his family from the invading Japanese, but before his family returned from seeking work one day, a heavy rainstorm arose and tore the houseboat from its moorings. Tien Pao, with his pet pig “Glory of the Republic” is swept deep into enemy territory, back to the area where his village had been.
Now he must find his way on foot back upstream to his family. He comes close to starving, but encounters an American airman, and together they mak...more
Phoebe
This Newbery Honor title is a shelf sitter yet it is one of the most exciting and wrenching books about a child's impression of war that I have yet read. Tien Pao is very little when his family's village is attacked by the Japanese and he, his mother, father, baby sister, three ducklings, and a little pig manage to escape by sampan down the river. They float for a long time with no food, and finally reach a village where his parents think to try to get work building a new airfield. Tien Pao must...more
Carole
I pre read this book as part of my children's homeschool Sonlight Core F curriculum. This book was probably one of the most heart wrenching reads I have ever read. Yet it also brought tears of joy and so much happiness into my heart. I am so thankful for having read this book. It really shows the determination of children, the kindness of strangers, and the unending love of family.
Leeann
This is a poignant story of a little Chinese boy's courage in the face of great odds. I enjoyed the historical aspect of this story--the Japanese invasion of China during World War II. I was touched by the friendship this little tenacious boy garnered among the American military and how they helped him find his family. Of course Glory-of-the-Republic, Tien Pao's little pig, was a story in and of itself.
Meghan
It makes me a bit sad to read this book and know that once upon a time, not that long ago, the USA and China were actually allies once. Being an American living in China, I see all the potential of that long forgotten friendship and the realities of such cultural differences.

This is a sweet story of hope and continues to give young readers a taste of another side to WWII--the part of the war that isn't readily taught in history classes at school.

Having read several adult books on this era, I fin...more
Thomas Parlmer
Best children's book I have ever read.

This book is a gripping story of a chinese child struggling through the Japanese invasion of China. In my opinion, it is one of the most incredible pieces of children's literature ever written. An easy read that's completely worth it.
Steve Hemmeke
Meindert DeJong is excellent reading for young people. He uses a simple writing style that repeats and reinforces main themes. And the themes of his books are glorious.

In House of 60 Fathers, the Japanese are attacking the Chinese, and a little Chinese boy, the main character, gets separated from his family. The Americans are involved, portrayed positively, and help bring him back.

If you have seen the Pianist movie, it reminded me of this (except age appropriate for young people and without grat...more
Alicia
This is one of the most gripping read-alouds we've read (and re-read), about a little Chinese boy lost during war time and hiding from the Japanese. It's probably one of the most graphic children's books we've read (it describes starving children eating mud and grass) but the story is beautifully told, with a happy ending, and we love this author.

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Just read this aloud for the 3rd time because 10-year-old Josh couldn't remember it at all....more
Emily
This book has all the traumatic, shocking events of TREE GIRL, but with better writing and more heart. Pros: likeable characters, wholly engrossing plot, and emotional resonance. Cons: no explanation of Japan's actions (which is fine if you are older, but if I was a kid, I would have HATED the Japanese after reading this book), superficial/stereotypical actions of the main character, and be prepared to be plunged into fathomless depths of depression because, despite this fictional happy ending,...more
Patrice
Tien Pao is a little boy all alone in his war torn country when his family's boat breaks free from it's moorings. I may be a sucker for books about kids trying to make it despite all adversities, and only a small cute animal to help them along. This is a quick read with an excellent plot, plenty of danger, adventure, and historic information.

This novel is an interesting look at Japanese occupied China during WWII. Japanese soldiers are bombing villages and killing families. American troops are...more
Anne Harlan
A beautifully written book about a terrible time. DeJong sustains the child's point of view intensely.
Louise O'neil
This book was not what I was expecting, pretty intense at parts and emotional to read to the kids but we all thought it was a great book and loved the ending!
Arahyacinth
I first read this book as a preteen; my older sister lent it to me for a long car ride, and I remember getting so caught up in the story that I was actually upset when the ride was over. Over a decade later, it still ranks among my favourite books.

What makes it great is the ease with which the reader starts to identify with Tien Pao. In no time, you feel as if you yourself are struggling alongside him. Will he starve? Get caught? Will he ever find his family? The spell that the author weaves mak...more
Zoe
Remarkable story - should be read alongside The Silver Sword - giving an insight into the consequences of war in a part of the world most Westerners will know very little about. Fast moving and with a pig who will give Charlotte's Web's Wilbur a run for your money when it comes to your affections. The fact that this book is illustrated by Maurice Sendak is another plus, although I found Sendak's illustrations rather curious; his characters look rather more African-American rather than Chinese.
Christy
Tien Pao is all alone in enemy territory. Only a few days before, his family had escaped from the Japanese army, fleeing downriver by boat. Then came the terrible rainstorm. Tien Pao was fast asleep in the little sampan when the boat broke loose from its moorings and drifted right back to the Japanese soldiers. With only his lucky pig for company, Tien Pao must begin a long and dangerous journey in search of his home and family.

A vividly realistic story of China during the early days of the Japa...more
Crabbygirl
set in china when the japanese were expanding past manchuria - the book doesn't get too specific with the violence of war. a large portion of the plot involves an american airman and i could have done with less of him.
but overall, i could see why it got the newberry honor: any book that exposes children of the western world to asian culture is worthwhile.
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Meindert De Jong(4 March 1906 – 16 July 1991) was an award-winning author of children's books. He was born in the village of Wierum, of the province of Friesland, in the Netherlands.

De Jong immigrated to the United States with his family in 1914. He attended Dutch Calvinist secondary schools and Calvin College, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and entered the University of Chicago, but left without grad...more
More about Meindert DeJong...
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