Thursday, April 04, 2013

ESCAPE FROM CAMP 14 by Blaine Harden

First read: March 2013 - I started it in a hotel parking lot at the Massachusetts School Library Association Annual Convention. It occurs to me that I read in parking lots pretty often. Hmmm... weird... Anyway,  Matt Smith, special education teacher here at BHS, practically threw this book at my head and demanded I read it. And furthermore that I put it on summer reading. And since he did that back in September, and I finally deigned to read it in March,I started reading it waiting in a parking lot.
Duration: 3 days because it was too terrifying to read all at once!

The Story: It starts with two executions. The first one is when Shin is 4. It is the first of many he remembers. The second one is 10 years later and the people being put to death are his mother and brother. Shin Dong-hyuk was born in a North Korean prison camp and is the only person raised from birth in one of the camps who is known to have successfully escaped. His story is harrowing and fascinating. As North Korea is posturing in front of the world, this is an important story.

Re-read: I read it LAST MONTH! I am not rereading it any time soon.

Summer reading tips:
  • Compare the propaganda that Harden illustrates with what you see in the news about North Korea. 
  • Contact one of the human rights agencies who work with North Koreans who have escaped their country and find out what you can do to help.
  • Compare the way of life in the North Korean Camps as illustrated in this book to those of the Nazi concentration camps. I think you will be shocked.

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