Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The House of Sixty Fathers” as Want to Read:
The House of Sixty Fathers
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The House of Sixty Fathers

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,269 Ratings  ·  108 Reviews
Tien Pao and piglet he names "Glory-of-the-Republic" after baby sister "Beauty-of-the-Republic" drift free in storm downriver back to Japanese territory. Following tiny mountain trails back to parents, he meets American aviator. Guerillas sneak them free. Based on real story of boy adopted by squadron of sixty flyers in bunkhouse.
Hardcover, LCC 568148 HC 1956 before ISBNs, 189 pages
Published August 28th 1987 by Harper Collins (first published 1956)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The House of Sixty Fathers, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The House of Sixty Fathers

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Linda Lipko
Aug 08, 2014 Linda Lipko rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 14, 2012 Chloe rated it really liked it
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
Jul 19, 2009 Leslie rated it it was amazing
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
May 21, 2014 Carole rated it it was amazing
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.
Nov 06, 2014 Julia rated it liked it
It starts off slow, but I ended up really enjoying it. The ending made me want to cry, but in a good way? It's one of those books that looks like it's going to be boring, but ends up evoking strong feelings for the main character and the struggles he goes through.
Louise O'neil
Feb 13, 2014 Louise O'neil rated it it was amazing
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!
Jan 11, 2014 Tess rated it it was ok
Ugh. Had to read this book for school. Just so boring. :( Goes on and on and on about simple details.
Steve Hemmeke
Aug 20, 2013 Steve Hemmeke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Feb 10, 2014 Terri rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-lit
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
Thomas Parlmer
Apr 09, 2014 Thomas Parlmer rated it it was amazing
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.
An Odd1
Jan 21, 2015 An Odd1 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fan
"You remember the old crone who gave you that second bowl of rice this morning? .. Japanese burned her house, and she was in it" p 100. Atrocities are only hinted at. After "engineer got shot in the cab .. passenger train kept slowly .. backed into the burning station" p 118.

Tien Pao and piglet he names "Glory-of-the-Republic" after baby sister "Beauty-of-the-Republic" drift free in storm downriver back to Japanese territory. Following tiny mountain trails back to parents, he meets American avi
Aug 11, 2011 Brianna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite book last year in school - it was so interesting.
Emily Hughes
Jan 31, 2014 Emily Hughes rated it it was ok
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
Shannon Duncan
Apr 15, 2016 Shannon Duncan rated it really liked it
The House of Sixty Fathers is a touching, although disturbing, children's novel. It was written by Meindert DeJong, an award winning author, and is a Newbery Honour book itself. It was first published in 1956 by Harper & Brothers, now there are a few editions available. The book is beautifully illustrated by Maurice Sendak.

Only a few days after his family escaped from their home and the Japanese, Tien Pao finds himself back in enemy territory, but this time alone. Well, almost alone. He has
Thomas Bell
Dec 11, 2015 Thomas Bell rated it really liked it
Shelves: newbery-honors
I really liked this book. It shows good character development and good strong emotion. It is also an adventure with bravery and heroism. Granted, it was obvious what the ending would be as soon as he rattled their little river-hut too much during the storm. However, it was still fun to get there.

As background to this book, during the 2nd Sino-Japanese War Japan invaded China. After Japan allied itself with Germany, this Sino-Japanese War became, of sorts, part of World War II. Anyway, during WWI
Apr 14, 2010 Josiah rated it liked it
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
Jun 02, 2009 Christina rated it it was ok
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
May 15, 2012 Wynnie rated it liked it
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,, ...more
May 01, 2013 Matthew rated it really liked it
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
Oct 13, 2013 Timothyl rated it really liked it
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
Sep 07, 2013 Elise rated it it was amazing
Shelves: homeschool
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
Emma Johnson
Apr 07, 2015 Emma Johnson rated it it was amazing
Don't be fooled by the title like I was! My sister wanted me to read this when I was about 10 or 12, and I thought "House of Sixty Fathers? That sounds awful!" She never told me what it was about, and now that I'm 17 I finally read it and it was sooooo good! Such a wonderful story - really easy read (I read it in about 1/2 a day) and it's even better knowing that it was based on DeJong's own experience! I really recommend this book; it would be a great one to read with your younger kids!
Dec 05, 2009 Natalie rated it really liked it
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
Jun 20, 2013 Phoebe rated it really liked it
Shelves: juv, china, war, 1930s, 1940s
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
Catherine Gillespie
The House of Sixty Fathers makes a fantastic read-aloud for both boys and girls. The story of a young Chinese boy during the Japanese invasion in World War II is based on a true story Meindert DeJong (who also wrote The Wheel on the School–another favorite) observed when he was serving in China at that time. Apparently DeJong tried to adopt the real life boy but wasn’t able to make it happen during the war and then he never was able to find him after the Communists took over. Fortunately, the bo ...more
Feb 21, 2015 Bethany rated it it was amazing
This is book is absolutely the sweetest, most wonderful thing I have ever read.

Little Tien Pao is separated from his mother and father during their flight to safety from the Japanese army and finds himself behind Japanese lines with only his little pig to help him be brave.

This book is so full of compassion. It's so beautiful I almost cried.

The House of Sixty Fathers.

I recommend to everyone.
Jul 16, 2014 Leeann rated it it was amazing
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.
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
Feb 12, 2016 Heidi rated it really liked it
A wonderful story. This tells the story of Tien Pao, separated from his parents during the Japanese occupation of China. He believes the impossible dream of being reunited with his parents and baby sister, and has an amazing adventure to reach his journey's end.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Li Lun, Lad of Courage
  • Commodore Perry in the Land of the Shogun
  • Daughter of the Mountains
  • Seabird
  • Black Fox of Lorne
  • The Great Wheel
  • The Horsecatcher
  • All Alone
  • All Sail Set: A Romance of the Flying Cloud
  • The Master Puppeteer
  • Homesick: My Own Story
  • Swift Rivers
  • The Blue Cat of Castle Town
  • The Singing Tree
  • When Shlemiel Went to Warsaw and Other Stories
  • The Avion My Uncle Flew
  • The Silver Pencil
  • The Corn Grows Ripe
Meindert De Jong 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 graduating.

He held various jobs d
More about Meindert DeJong...

Share This Book