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Across the Tumen: A North Korean Kkotjebi Boy's Quest

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  42 ratings  ·  17 reviews
As North Korea undergoes a devastating famine, Yeong-dae loses both his parents and is forced to beg on the streets. Soon, this young boy sets off on a desperate journey to China to find his sister. This inspiring tale offers a glimpse into the horrors faced by North Korean children-and their indomitable will to survive.
Paperback, 342 pages
Published March 31st 2014 by Seoul Selection USA, Inc. (first published October 30th 2013)
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Average rating 4.33  · 
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Feb 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book thru and was a First read winner.
This book was an easy read because it was written for children. Not the young but the older children.
Well written and apparently pretty accurate about North Korea according to several reviewers. I'll take their word for it.
It is about a young North Korean boy that desperately tries to keep his family together and seeks a better life OUTSIDE of North Korea. It's a tough thing to do. The author does an excellent job in keeping the re
Patricia Kaniasty
Jan 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Fantastic story. I loved everything about this book. The characters were wonderful and the educational side of this book was great. I learned alot about N. & S. Korea and China.....things I never knew. Engaging read for all ages. ...more
David Duncan
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anybody
Recommended to David by: Goodreads
Shelves: first-reads
Across The Tumen, by Moon Young-sook, is my seventy-fifth book that I have received and read from Goodreads. Really a great book to read. A real accurate description of life in North Korea, South Korea, and China. This story is about a young North Korean boys named Yeong-dae Lee, Nam-sik trying to escape across the Tumen river from North Korea into China. This is a fictional book, the author makes it clear these actions of trying to escape North Korea are going on to date.
Using-dae is a story ab
Sandra Stiles
Across the Tumen is one of those stories you start reading and can't put it down until you finish it. This is a fictionalized account of one North Korean boy's escape across the Tumen River into China. Although this is a fictional account the author has made it clear that this continues on today. Most of my students here in America have no idea how wonderful their life is. They have no idea how the children of other countries suffer. Through Yeong-dae's story we watch a family torn apart by star ...more
Aug 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A very good well-written story. I enjoyed reading it. It gives the reader a inside look of the struggle in North Korea, and the tragic lives of those who live there. Loved reading the histroy of both north and South Korea it gave me an insight to their culture and ways. This book is a must read.
Yoo Kyung Sung
Apr 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction

A simply written, but poignant story that could be any child's plight today in North Korea. The narrative was fast-paced and easy to follow, even though I know very little about the history and circumstances of that particular country. Equal parts brutal, heart-wrenching and hopeful, this book was a quick, but good read.
Mar 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
There are few opportunities to read about life in North Korea so it is really impossible for me to know if it is an accurate portrayal. If it is even close to accurate, and I have no reason to think that it is not, then life in with the Dear Leader is not something any of us would like to experience.

The story follows a young boy growing up in North Korea through multiple challenges--father dies, sister leaves for China thinking she will earn money to send home while actually being sold to a str
Aug 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I received this book as part of the Goodreads First Reads book giveaway promotion program. I was skeptical at first because this is a YA book, but I was quickly drawn in to the story. The story takes place in North Korea during the 1990's. I was very intrigued by not just the story but the information that I learned about North Korea during this time. Although this book is a work of fiction, the author drew inspiration from true stories about that time. I would recommend this book to anyone who ...more
The author consistently tells us things - emotions, plot points - rather than showing them, and most of the characters are cardboard cutouts. That said, if you don't know how difficult it was to live in North Korea during the Arduous March, or how tough it is to defect (which remains the case even today), it's a good starting point for learning about it. The facts are fine; the story just isn't well-told.
LLL Reads
Feb 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
I was happy to win a review copy of ACROSS THE TUMEN from a Goodreads giveaway.

This is an important book and a very good read. Although it deals with serious subject matter this is a great book for middle grade and YA readers as well as adults. This first hand account keeps you absorbed in the story. I recommend it highly. From the very beginning the plight of this boys situation makes for a tense page turner.
Thelma Melendez
Aug 16, 2015 rated it liked it
This story seems ripped from the headlines of the plight of North Korean children, but is told from the perspective of the young and vulnerable Yeong-dae as he looks for his sister. A work of fiction, but I definitely read it as a documentary. Would totally recommend!

*I received a copy of this book via Goodreads Giveaways
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this as a first read. This was a very good read. I also think it should be read especially for a younger audience. A very much a page turner. Action packed tale. I am glad I read this book.
Sep 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway. It was an interesting read that showed the struggles that North Korean people go through. Students should read it in schools to get a better understanding of how others in the world live.
Aug 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: korea
I thought that this was a really great read that highlights a really important human rights issue in a very accessible way. I highly recommend this book to others that are interested in the Koreas and/or human rights.
Aug 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Great read. This story touched me in ways I did not think it would. I am so very thankful to have had the opportunity to thoroughly enjoy this book.
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Moon Young-sook was born in Seosan, South Chungcheong Province, in 1953. Her literary career took off when she won the 2nd Blue Literature Prize in 2004 and the 6th Literature Neighborhood Prize for Children's Literature in 2005. In 2012, she received a creative grant from the Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture.

Moon's main reason for writing stories is to teach young people about parts of Kore

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