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The Clay Marble: And Related Readings
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The Clay Marble: And Related Readings

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  1,242 ratings  ·  144 reviews
In the late 1970s twelve-year-old Dara joins a refugee camp in war-torn Cambodia and becomes seperated from her family.
Hardcover, 180 pages
Published January 30th 1997 by Houghton Mifflin (first published October 1991)
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"Fleeing their war-torn Cambodian village in early 1980, twelve year-old Dara and her family establish a makeshift home at a refugee camp on the Thai-Cambodian border. Then shelling and fighting, inescapable even there, separate Dara from her family and she must overcome her fear and lack of confidence to find them again."

Minfong Ho tells Dara's story with strong words and detailed scenes which make this story seem so real, so alive. Even though Dara's story is made up, it is based on the real c
Anne Marie
This book gave a new perspective to the Cambodian conflict, showing the struggles at the refugee camp and ongoing conflict. The pacing of the plot varies, with some chapters moving slowly and others moving more quickly with more action/drama. The characters are believable and allow the reader to step into a place and time far from their experience.
I was reminded of how much I like good Children's Literature and how often I think it is stronger than a lot of fiction intended for adults.
This story is of a young Cambodian girl and her family who were made refuges during the nightmares of the Cambodian Wars. She, and what was left of her family, create another family with other refuges and the children use clay to make toys in a metaphor for sustaining their lives.
She survives starvation, invading armies, shelling, injuries, and death of thos
My teacher urged me to read this book and so did a classmate of mine. At first it was a little dry and slow but then it became this rich story line full of twists and turns. Every character changes his or her mindset in some way. The details sometimes can be violent and a bit graphic but it does convey the point of War. Many innocent people, who just want peace, die. I know that people can also be used as pawns in a big game of chess where nobody ends up winning.
This was a very good book! I think that Jantu was one of a kind because she taught Dara to believe in herself. She taught Dara to be happy of who she was. I would recommend it to anyone. And I think Dara was confident in herself after Jantu taught her to be.

The only annoying thing is that the word rice was used very often. And it seemed like they were all obsessed with rice.
This book was the first book that made me cry and made me very sad. It changed the way I think about soldiers, rice and the world. This is the only spoiler I can tell, I wished that the book had a happy ending. This book really got me because most of the books I read I don't really vision them as reality but this book, I can imagine it straight away and it makes me very sad.
I remember reading this in 7th grade and purposefully sitting in the back of the room so if I cried my eyes out I could do it with at least a little bit of dignity left. Well, the small amount of dignity you're afforded in American junior high school anyways. Not unfair to say being exposed to this literature at a young age is what helped shape me into an activist. I picked it up a bit ago and leafed through it, and the story came back to life for me. I was reminded of how good Children's litera ...more
The Waxahachie ISD (Texas) Ninth Grade Academy’s Malcolm Mitchell Book Club chooses some monthly selections from a surplus of used books in a school district warehouse, The Clay Marble being one such book. Some from the collection are recommended reading for elementary age students – not high school freshman. However, (most of) my ninth grade students still enjoyed reading these well-loved classics. It's a plus, too, that I found a wealth of websites with helpful guidelines that we have used dur ...more
Miss Amanda
gr 5-9 162 pgs

~1980, Nong Chang Refugee camp, Cambodia/Thailand. 12 year old Dara and what's left of her family are forced to leave their home for the refugee camp where they've heard that food and supples (seed/farm tools) are being distributed. At the camp, Dara and her family befriend another family. Dara loves watching Jantu make wonderful toys from muds, twigs,and scraps of cloth. Everything that Jantu make seems magical. When Jantu makes Dara a marble, Dara is sure that it has magic in it
It is very interesting to learn how refugees live.
Alla Kim
I really loved this book, it was so good, it was sad but i really enjoyed it. This is my favorite book that i have read so far. Grade 5-9 After the fall of the Khmer Rouge, 12-year-old Dara, her older brother Sarun, and their mothers journey to the Thai border to search for food. When they arrive they meet the another Cambodian family, from that family a little girl Jantu, becomes Dara's friend another, Nea, falls in love with Sarun the brother. Life is going pretty will for them until fighting ...more
The Clay Marble by Minfong Ho is about a girl (Dara,12) and her family (her brother (Sarun)and her mother) they are traveling to this border camp (Nong Chan) with limited food and supplies. Dara says that she thinks she hears a cowbell and later on her mother and Sarun hear the cowbell and a little later on in the book they cross paths with a guy going the opposite direction that they are going and the guy as an ox with a cowbell around its neck so they did hear a cowbell. Well after that they t ...more
This book was one of the most woderfull, emotional and incouraging book I had ever read! This book is about a girl called Dara and how she is going through the combodien war, Dara lost her father in the war. After three years of hard work her brother heard of a base camp in Nong Chan were it is safe and it has a lot of supplies. After nine days Dara and her family finely arrived, and it was like a dreem! food, showers and a lot more than they met a girl called Nea. Nea interduced Dara and her fa ...more
I thought this book was going to end happily, but it didn't. It's about a girl called,"Dara" and her brother called,"Sarun." Later,they had to move to a refugee camp. Dara soon makes a friend called,"Nea" and her cousin"Jantu." While living, I never thought the enemies had came and started to bomb. Dara and the people who lived at the refugee camp had to move which i thought of many people moving to another place and a girl that Dara saw was crying for her mother and she had a broken doll. Later ...more
Ki Ying N
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
12 years old Dara lives peacefully with her family, well not really. It's wear where she lives and she is living in a place with not so much food to eat. Her dad got killed in the night, some solider came and killed him. One day Dara herd a bell and they saw a man comes and tells them about a camp where they give free food and tools. At the camp they meet a family with the members Nea, Jandu. Baby and granpa Gem. One day the camp gets bombed and everybody escapes. Baby get hurt and Jandu goes wi ...more
I read this book for school and loved it! The way the author subtly introduces Dara's change throughout the book and how strong she became. One of my favorite books I've had to read for class this year... Actually the only book I've read this year for class that I've liked!
Makayla Stephens
Dara lives with her family during the struggle of Cambodia. Bomb explosions hit where Dara & her family settled, they left as soon as the first one hit & lost Dara. She makes her way to find her family & this novel shows the struggles she had to go through to find her family.
This was part of the required reading for my 6th grader. It gave her nightmares and we pulled her for homeschool during reading. Would not recommend because of war themes and graphic nature. There is also a public bathing scene with teenagers.
What this book has make me interesting is when Dara and his family was on the border , they had meet Nea family and they were cooking rice,fish and other things . They had talk about how good the rice are and the sad part of this book is when Dara’s father die in front of his favourite mango tree . When the aircraft came they had to run for it , but when Dara is running , she found a girl crying.Than when Dara wanted to help the girl but Jantu is trying to save Dara and she is also doing the wro ...more
Fascinating story about a part of Asian-Cambodian history that I was unfamiliar with. The preface was very helpful in understanding the context of the story. Many of the elements in the book are fiction, however the basic conflicts that Cambodia has experienced during the 70’s and 80’s are very much true. Struggling readers will find this book difficult to understand due to many of the vocabulary words associated with the culture. The historical events would be hard for struggling readers to und ...more
I think this book The Clay Marble was OK. I really got into the story when the bomb happened. It happened so suddenly that I was a bit shocked. I enjoyed reading the part when I was very curious how Dara and her family live with some food to eat very day. Dara was trying to find her parents and meet the boy who she kind of hate at the first bit and they continue their journey. I feel good for them at the end when they meet Dara's family and they were able to go home. I think Dara is such a brave ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book takes place in Cambodia, and it is about a girl called Dara living in a refugee camp on the Thai-Cambodia border. At that time, Cambodia was in war with Thailand and Vietnam. Dara's father was dragged away from their home. Dara's brother, Sarun, decided to bring his family and escape to a refugee camp. At the refugee camp, they had a big change in their lives and many events occurred.

This book was very interesting and I enjoyed reading it. The ending was ver sad, and I cried a bit, but
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book is about a Cambodian Girl named Dara, who lived during the Cambodian war. At first she is just a girl who lived with her family. Then the soldiers killed her father. The rest of her family goes to a refugee camp in Nong Chan in the Cambodian Boarder.They meet a family with Grandfather Kem, Jantu, Baby and Nea and they decides to be together on their trip. But then the tragic happens and Nong Chan becomes dangerous. Will they survive?
Throughout the story, Dara changes. Not only physica
Ben Derting
a really good story about a refugee camp. when if first read it i couldn't put it down.
It was ok but I didn't like it that much, also my teacher made me read it.
It's safe to say that this is one of my favorite books of all time, seeing as I've read it at the least four timeS (2006-2007, possible '08, 2009, 2012, and now 2015. And every time I've read it, it has hit me in that same way it did the first time, the only difference being now that I'm older, I understand the horrors of war more than when I was a child. One reason I love this book as greatly as I do is nostalgic factor: this is my childhood book, probably the first that truly made me fall in l ...more
I think that in the clay marble they said the word "Rice" too many times in the book and it got a little bit annoying for me, but otherwise the Clay marble was a really good book and I enjoyed reading it. Some chapters in the book like the 3 first chapters weren't so good as the other chapters because nothing really interesting happened in those chapters. Maybe the most interesting part in the clay marble was when Jantu gets shot accidentally by Sarun and other troops. I think that it was a real ...more
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Minfong Ho is an award-winning Chinese-American writer. Her works frequently deal with the lives of people living in poverty in Southeast Asian countries.
More about Minfong Ho...
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