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The House of Sixty Fathers

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  2,991 ratings  ·  149 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)
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3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,991 ratings  ·  149 reviews

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Jul 18, 2009 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
I finished this book with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. Why? Because, while this book is tough and raw to read for realistically portraying its subject, it’s beautifully written and acutely heartwarming.

The New York Times reviewed the book as, “Not only a tense adventure story but also a moving picture of one small boy’s tenacious courage.” I give that assessment a hearty amen!
The action of this book is quite gripping, but it was the pull to root for Tien Pao, this little Chinese boy
Linda Lipko
Aug 08, 2014 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.
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Oy, talk about an adventure story. Takes place in China during WWII, so, educational - but also ever so exciting. A reissue would def. appeal to modern children. Sendak's art is wonderful, but not as highly personal as his work for the books he writes himself, more straightforward... and more apt, imo. Inspired by DeJong's own experience in China.

Looking forward to the reread Oct. 2018 with the Children's Books group Newbery club.
My comment there:

Talk about a horror story. There's nothing of
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
Aug 14, 2012 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
May 20, 2014 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.
Mar 20, 2013 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.
Louise O'neil
Feb 08, 2014 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!
Oh, this book - the ending. So heart wrenching and so well told.
Definitely makes for good discussions with your kids.
My 13 year old likes this book as much as I do.
May 15, 2012 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
Apr 12, 2010 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
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My kids read this in third grade at their school, and one of my sons mentioned that this was his favorite book from all of elementary school, so I thought I should finally read it for myself. It's an astonishingly suspenseful story—the kind that would likely be rated R for violence and intense situations if it were made into a movie—but also surprisingly sweet.

The book follows the journey of Tien Pao, a little Chinese boy who must flee upriver during flood season with his parents, baby sister,
Thomas Bell
Aug 13, 2011 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
Shannon Duncan
Jan 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Just days after his family escaped from their home and the Japanese, one little boy finds himself back in enemy territory, this time alone. Well, almost. He has his piglet, Glory-of-the-Republic. Together the pair must find their way home – an impossible task. But when hope comes, a choice is laid out before him. He must decide between a new life or continuing his hopeless search. Which will it be?

The word that comes to mind when I think of this book is ‘haunting’. It is set in China during the
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
I have mixed feelings about this book. it's a children's book, so I would expect the language and storytelling to be simpler, given its target audience. I've read and enjoyed children's books, but this one... ehh. It's not terrible, but the writing was definitely awkward in some parts, with some choppy sentences and the repetition of some words within paragraphs.

As for the historical accuracy of this story, the author did a nice job of illustrating (at an age-appropriate level) the horrors of li
Emily Hughes
Jan 03, 2014 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
Steve Hemmeke
Aug 20, 2013 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
Thomas Parlmer
Apr 09, 2014 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.
Aug 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite book last year in school - it was so interesting.
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
this book had a very good plot full with tones of great things. so first off Tien Pao was on a boat with his family trying to escape the Japanese but wile his parents are out a heard of buffalo come and push the ship out of the harbor he falls asleep and doesn't realize that he is being pushed down the river from whence his family had recently came. He awakened up in deep fog and was petrified that he was so alone he only had one thing a pig Gònghéguó de róngyào(glory of the republic). he and hi ...more
Marty Reeder
All I remembered about this book from 5th grade was that I liked it and that it had a visceral scene of a starving kid eating a bowl of rice. Upon rereading, I found out that my memory served me well. I like this book. And there is a descriptive scene with a starving boy eating a bowl of rice.

Because I forgot the plot once, it is likely I’ll forget again, so I’ll jot down a couple particulars. The action starts immediately as Tien Pao and his family escape the horrors of the Japanese offensive d
Justine Laismith
This middle grade book is about a boy who got separated from his family when Japan invaded China. We follow his journey of hardship surviving alone with only his pig. The horrors of war was told in a sympathetic way, and the illustrations are simple but impactful.

The only thing that bothers me it was the names. The boy's name is Tien Po . Straightaway, as a Mandarin speaker, I know what his name is in Chinese characters, and I know what Tien Po means. Strangely, having named our main character
Lili Jordan
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this book to my 9 and 10 year old boys and they loved the story! They were completely drawn in to the world of Tien Pao.
Newbery Honor: 1957

During the Japanese invasion of China, Tien Pao becomes separated from his family as their sampan becomes unattached from the pier and floats down the river toward the Japanese-occupied area. Along with Tien Pao are his beloved pig, Glory-of-the-Republic and a trio of ducklings. The House of Sixty Fathers is Tien Pao's story of survival through Japanese infested land, trying to find his way back to his parents and little sister.

Along the way, he comes across many hardships an
Nov 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-ve-read
I did really enjoy reading this story to my sons. It was really educational for them to learn how a child might try to survive if separated from his family and doing his best to not starve to death. I think it taught really valuable lessons.

This story is about a young boy and his pig during wartime between China and Japan. The Americans are also in this book. Tien Pao is the main character and the story starts out where he is trying to find safety with his family in a sampan boat.

My big issue w
We read this as part of our history lessons, since this takes place when the Japanese invaded China. While it was a heart-warming story, for some reason, it didn't quite capture the attention of me or the kids. It was a sweet story, but I didn't feel much suspense or angst, even though the situation of a kid floating off by himself in a river and getting lost and then getting picked up by a foreigner and brought to live with 60 random strangers, surrounded by people who didn't speak his language ...more
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
A story of perseverance. Difficult times and the kindness of strangers.
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I tend to like to read heavy, thought-provoking books, and in between, when I need something light, I turn to award-winning 'Young Adult' books. I read this in an afternoon, and it was just what I hoped for ... a book that teaches something about history I didn't know, introduces a young boy who demonstrates both courage and compassion, and weaves an adventure that kept me on the edge of my seat. What a great book for young people to read, especially during a time when we are perhaps a bit short ...more
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
De Jong was a favorite author of mine as a child. I still remember Hurry Home, Candy vividly, an absolute heartbreak of a story, but I had never heard of this particular title. De Jong delivers emotionally wrought subjects to children, in detailed plots with happy endings. They are suspenseful and beautifully illustrated. They teach compassion, and I hope they will be read and re-read for generations to come.
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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