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The Clay Marble
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The Clay Marble

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  1,583 ratings  ·  183 reviews
Fleeing war-torn Cambodia in 1980, Dara, her mother, and her older brother find sanctuary in a refugee settlement on the Thailand border, but when fighting erupts, Dara finds herself separated from everyone and everything she loves.
Paperback, 163 pages
Published September 1st 1993 by Farrar Straus Giroux (first published October 1991)
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Feb 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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.
Anne Marie
Apr 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.
Eva Deng C1
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Clay Marble by Mingfong Ho has many similarities and connections to A Long Walk to Water by… The first connection is that they both have a setting as war, The Clay Marble has bombing and shooting and ALWTW has shooting too. The second connection is that the 2 main characters both try to find their parents Dara from The Clay Marble is lost from the bomb that was fired right next to her and Jantu, Dara’s friend, Jantu’s brother injured his leg so Dara had to find their families on her own. In ...more
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is like the Inside out and back again but much much better.
Sep 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
"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
Sep 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Emily Haseman
Sep 07, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is about a girl who lives in cambodia and here villiage get attack. Then her and family have to travel to a safe place. Then that gets attacked and she get seperated from here family. How will she survive... Read to find out
Nov 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: stories
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dyck House
Apr 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I liked it enough to find more books by this author!
Sarah Donovan
Mar 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Genocide doesn't have a starting or stopping point. And genocide cannot be isolated to one geographic location. Atrocities push people from their homes and pull t"people and their trauma into nearby lands. These people are forgotten until someone tells their story. I find most powerful the stories written by survivors, but this story comes from someone who served Cambodians in Thailand's refugee camps as survivors redefined family and home and dared to imagine a life beyond the camps. Read this ...more
Sep 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
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.
Dec 11, 2012 added it
It is very interesting to learn how refugees live.
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Book review

Minfong Ho

The Clay Marble

The book is fiction, adventure. I chose to read it because I needed to read it for English (independently) and then write a comparison with another book. Minfong Ho was born in Asia, in Rangoon, Burma. Thus in her books she usually tells about what happened in Asian countries. In this book, she talks about the refugee problem in Cambodia. The Clay Marble is Minfong Ho’s third book.
This book is about Dara, a 12-year-old girl refugee, and her experiences in Camb
Chris Rafter
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
When I found this novel in the library, it stood out to me. No doubt it was a easy read, but a highly influential one. It was the perfect combination of history and emotion mixed into a single story. If you enjoy a heart-touching story and fictional plot, then I can guarantee you will like this book. The story is set in Cambodia during a dictatorship which has created a war between the governments and the dictatorship. The main character is a young girl during this time and as the story progress ...more
Shelley R.
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
'The Clay Marble' is a very eye opening book. When you live in a protected bubble all your youth, you don't really understand the harsh scenarios people go through. From not having enough money to keep you well through a few more days... to losing a friend or family member. You never know what's going to happen when you're out in the wild.
May 29, 2018 rated it did not like it
Minfong Ho is clearly a social activist in all the best senses of the word. She has done, and continues to do, great things. For all her talents, writing is not one of them. Even by middle school literature standards this book is filled with two-dimensional characters, ham-fisted morals, and pointless descriptive flourishes which add nothing of substance to the story.
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids
Great read. Very well written. Tells the story of the Cambodian conflict through the eyes of a child, and does it in a way that is very understandable and appropriate for kids. Also, shows the power of human resiliency.
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
This was a well thought out, touching story. I learned quite a bit about life in a small Cambodian town and the effect of war on the families. The sadness was touched upon, and the overcoming of trials and fears was sweetly taught.
Emersyn Tranel
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a book about a family whose home is bombed and needs to get to the border of Cambodia. And when they to the border of Cambodia they meet another family and they adventure on from there to get to a better concentration camp.
Lilly Cobb
Sep 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book and it gave a lot of detail to what acctully happened to this family.
Ella Mierow
Sep 07, 2018 rated it liked it
I think the story did a good job showing how the characters changed throughout the story. The characters have a lot of setbacks but they always figure out a way to keep going.
Tessa Wise
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
The book was okay. It had to do with something that happened in real life, but I didn't really like it.
Drew Boss
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Good historical fiction book. I suggest this book to anyone who likes a good ending. This book had some good parts but overall I didn't like it that much.
Will Craig
Sep 07, 2018 rated it liked it
I liked this book but not my favorite because some of the parts were hard to understand. But there were lots of lessons.
Ben Padilla
Sep 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was a very good book. The book kept me on the tip of my toes the whole way through the book. It is also a sad book about the sad times in Cambodia.
Mariam B
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reread
A childhood favorite.
Dakshna Davar
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful tale of one girls journey to a refugee camp and back home again during the Khmer Rouge reign in Cambodia’s devastating past.
Rachel S
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
this book has to be one of my favorites. it teaches you many lessons about love, family, war, and manyy other aspects, i was very sad when one of my favorite people died.
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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.