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Under the Broken Sky

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  52 ratings  ·  25 reviews
A beautifully told middle-grade novel-in-verse about a Japanese orphan’s experience in occupied rural Manchuria during World War II.

Twelve-year-old Natsu and her family live a quiet farm life in Manchuria, near the border of the Soviet Union. But the life they’ve known begins to unravel when her father is recruited to the Japanese army, and Natsu and her little
Published October 15th 2019 by Macmillan
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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 ·  52 ratings  ·  25 reviews

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Yuko Shimizu
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am not familiar with this form of writing: a novel in a poetry form.
It's a very fast read, but the experience is really thick and dense. I didn't realize how much one can say with such economical use of language. The book really takes you to Manchuria in 1945 and let you live through the hardships and emotions.
Cassie Thomas
Oct 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, middle-grade
This book was really hard to read due to the severity of their lives, which is one reason why I was so determined to read more. The authors note is something I would want my students to read first to gain background knowledge before they start. This is a historical moment I knew absolutely nothing about going in to this story, but the conditions that they lived through were horrific. It’s definitely a story for upper MG and a book to discuss. I love that it was written in verse.
Bonnie Grover
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I had no idea about Manchuria during WWII. The author does a great job explaining the plight of refugees. Natsu is a twelve-year-old who is trying to keep a promise and hold her family together while seeking refuge from warn torn cities. This is an emotional novel told in verse. It is appropriate for middle and high school readers.
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This starts at the end of the the Pacific side of WW2. Japan is losing and a twelve-year-old Japanese girl must flee her "home" in China.
I think it is advisable to read the afterword before reading the actual book. Japan should never have been in China (settling there, colonizing through force) to begin with...although that doesn't lessen my sympathy for the protagonist who is just a child.
Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard
Jul 21, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2019
historical written in verse
someone summoned me?
Michelle Kidwell
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Under the Broken Sky
by Mariko Nagai

Macmillan Children's Publishing Group

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

Children's Fiction

Pub Date 15 Oct 2019

I am reviewing a copy of Under the Broken Sky through Macmillan Children's Publishing Group/Henry Holt and Co. (BYR):

This beautifully told novel in verse tells us of twelve year old Natsu and the quiet farm life of her family in Manchuria near the Soviet Border, b
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this book is eye opening and well written, but I have a few major issues;

The Goodreads summary uses the wrong name for Natsu’s sister (which should be Asa) - and then the bigger issue to me is that any write-up about the book I’ve seen - including the book’s jacket - summarizes the book as if the entire premise is something that actually doesn’t happen until 250 pages in (of the 280 pages total!)

Since I had read that blurb, I basically spent the whole book waiting for “that”
Nov 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an important and also a quick read. I really enjoy free verse poetry, especially when it’s used for Historical Fiction, so I enjoyed this.

My only real complaint is that the synopsis does not match the book AT ALL. 1.) I don’t know why they call her sister Cricket in the description. Her name is Asa. She is never once referred to as “Cricket”. It’s not even the English translation for the name Asa, which means “Morning” in Japanese apparently. 2.) This book is separated into 6 subsectio
Karen Maurer
Raise your hand if you knew Japan had settlements in Manchuria in the 1930s and 1940s. You DID? Good for you, history buff.
Natsu lives with her Tochan (father) and her little sister Asa in a Japanese settlement in Manchuria. The year is 1945. Life is good and then, it is not. Tochan is called to serve the Emperor in the army.
Soon, the whole settlement is threatened and they must choose between evacuating, capture or death.

This book is the story of Natsu, Asa and the neigh
図書館屋 Sharon the Librarian
This was a book that evoked powerful feelings as I read it. A novel, not a novel, written in free verse that reflected the thoughts and words of a young girl at the end of the war when the civilians living in Manchuria were trying to stay alive and get back to Japan.

My current research is on a particular Japanese person living in Manchuria during the war, and I was so pleased to see an ad for this book but was curious about who would be writing in English about this time period with a Japanese
Katie Reilley
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This upper MG/YA novel in verse was a difficult (yet very important) read for me personally. I was unaware of this part of history surrounding World War Two, and the plight of the refugees definitely took an emotional toll.

Twelve year old Natsu, her father, and younger sister Cricket live a quiet life on a farm in occupied Manchuria. When her father is recruited by the Japanese army, Natsu makes a promise to keep her sister safe. The sisters are forced to leave their home, and in desperation Na
: A non-review in three reactions

First third: "Oh man please don't go full Grave of the Fireflies please don't --"

Middle third: "Aw jeez those poor kids I still hope this doesn't go full Grave of the Fireflies"

Last third: (view spoiler)

this book was SO GOOD and now i need to find more Mariko Nagai to read

also i'm getting ahead of mys
Shauna Yusko
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Pair with many current fiction and nonfiction refugee stories. Little represented story in yalit.

Readers would be best served by discussion of the time period and a map if they are unfamiliar with the location or shifting boundaries during war.

Character age is 12, but this is not for elementary.

Might even border on the “adult book with a young narrator.”
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hoo boy, this is a tough read. I didn't know much about this particular bit of world history, and I imagine a lot of children don't either, so this book will be educational. The story is sad and gripping - you want to see the girls survive and succeed. The verse makes it a quicker read, but because the topics are so heavy, it doesn't read as quickly as other verse novels have.
Jill Ramig
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Natsu lives with her dad and sister in Manchuria near the Soviet Union border. Her dad gets drafted into the Japanese Army. Natsu and her sister are forced to run for their lives as the war reaches her village. With a promise to return to Japan Natsu faces unimaginable hardship. Novel-in-Verse. Part of WWII we never hear about. @marikonagai2012 #bookexcursion
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Although I knew nothing of Manchuria around the time of WWII, I was pulled further and further into what is, after all, an experience repeated across millennia and across the globe. Natsu’s love for her sister is fierce. Against all odds she keeps the promise she made to her father to keep Asa safe.

This story is perhaps most appropriate for upper middle grade readers.
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
Told in verse by a twelve-year-old girl, we learn about Manchuria just prior to and after WWII. The narrator was able to show us emotion and events in such a unique way. I learned new WWII information about Manchuria and the trials people endured.
Raven Black
Oct 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The things one does to survive is not always pretty, but you do it. Historically based. Afterwards gives the factual information as the story took modern voiced prose poetry to yell the journey of two sisters.
Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens
"Echoing the hardships and redemption of many novels about World War II, this well-timed story about a lesser-known group of refugees adds an important chapter to the narrative of human oppression and survival." [from School Library Journal]
Ms. Yingling
Aug 26, 2019 rated it liked it
E ARC from Netgalley

Did not meet the needs of my collection at this time. Since this is an unknown period of history for most of my students, there needs to be more details than the verse format allows.
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Natsu’s story will leave a lasting impression. You get a glimpse into what it means to seek refuge from war torn cities. This will pull at your heart strings.
Aug 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a powerful book told in verse that makes the reader think about what it means to survive in an environment that does not want you.
Janis Kay
4.5-5 Stars

This was really good! The prose was gripping and powerful while really capturing the mindset of a 12 year old:)

More thoughts later!
Oct 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
The writing style was new for me and I wasn't a big fan. However, the story is good.
Review Copy: Digital ARC via Netgalley.

This is a wonderfully told story of survival during a very difficult time. Like many people growing up in the U.S., history has been very internally focused. WWII information for me was usually very focused on how the U.S. or Europe was involved.

Japan had colonized many places including Manchuria. This story brings that time period to life. It also lets us see that people have been fleeing for their lives from many places for a very
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