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Under the Broken Sky — Review

Thought for the Day:

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”
~ Arnold Schwarzenegger ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

I am always interested when there are announcements of Word of the Year. I think I linked to Webster’s a few months ago. This time it is the Oxford English Dictionary. They couldn’t narrow it down to one word. HERE is an article that tells the story.

Jami Gold has some great beat sheets for writers HERE. Don’t miss this opportunity.

K. M. Allen is doing a big revision and is sharing a way to look at book scenes while revising HERE with 4 Key Things to Establish in each of those scenes.

As 2020 marches on, we may actually be seeing a light at the end of the 2020 tunnel. I heard today vaccines are already being shipped, so perhaps we can put the brakes on the Corona Virus and get back to our lives. Fingers crossed. Every week I spend Sunday mornings watching the national news shows. I’m something of a news junkie. The one show I never miss is GPS with Fareed Zakaria on CNN. It takes a more global view than the others. Zakaria is a brilliant guy and always has interesting interviews. This morning’s show had 3 or 4 segments with historians Jon Meacham, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Niall Ferguson who all gave wonderful examples of times in history that reflect our time today and how the country survived and thrived in those challenging times. I recommend it. You can watch the show segments HERE if you are interested and haven’t already seen it.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We had a wonderful day and managed to use nearly every pot, pan, and dish I own. Clean up went on longer than the dinner, but it was great. I was astonished to see the number of people traveling for the holiday and hope that doesn’t bring on a terrible surge in Covid just when we are poised to be able to take control. Stay safe out there!

Last week, I offered a gently-read, autographed copy of Daily Bread by Antoinette Truglio Martin to one of you. This week’s winner is Carol Baldwin who shared my link for extra chances. Congratulations, Carol! If you don’t know Carol, she is a writer and teacher of writing from South Carolina. She has wonderful reviews, interviews, and giveaways on her cleverly-named blog. You can check it out HERE. Carol, I will get your book out to you soon.

I am still working my way through a list of books I meant to review here long ago, but that fell through the cracks. I enjoy good novels in verse, the lyrical ones that sweep readers through them with true poetry. When I read Under the Broken Sky by Mariko Nagai, I was carried away by the gorgeous writing, the compelling characters and story, and the amazing history I learned. I also think novels in verse can be really attractive to reluctant readers. And that cover! How can any reader resist? Here is the review I wrote for the Tulsa Book Review.

Natsu is twelve and lives with her father and younger sister on a tiny farm in a small village in Manchuria. It is deep in World War II, and this little village is Japanese while surrounding villages are populated by the Chinese, Russians, and others, Manchuria having been settled by many nations. Natsu’s father is conscripted into the Japanese army, leaving the girls on their own with only an old aunty in the village to watch over them. Soon, everyone is driven from the village and must make a harrowing journey to a city where the girls lose the aunty to illness and face starvation. Natsu is forced to sell her sister to a Russian woman. Will she ever get her sister back, find their father, and make their way to Japan?

Mariko Nagai

Author Mariko Nagai has written a story few young people (in fact, few adults) may know about. Her writing in verse is lyrical and beautiful, yet in no way softens the power and pain of this incredible slice of history. This is a terrific way to introduce readers to the story of Manchuria, which will engender research and more reading. This book is not to be missed.

I have no giveaway this week since I long ago donated the nice hardback copy I got to the school. Don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at the Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.

19 thoughts on “Under the Broken Sky — Review”

  1. This sounds like a powerful book. We in America often don’t know about the hardships WWII imposed on other countries, the devastation and disruption of lives. I don’t read many novels in verse, but when I have, I’ve often been swept into the story in a different way than when a story is told in prose. Re: your Sunday morning news, Rajan is reading Meacham’s book about John Lewis, His Truth Is Marching On. I’m patiently waiting for him to finish so i can read it. We both like Meacham a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m also not a big novels in verse reader, but have been reading more of them the past year. The setting, time period, and characters make this one a must read for me. Thanks for featuring on MMGM.
    Enjoyed the links today, especially the sheets for writers. I will also be sure to watch a segment of GPS. Sounds like my kind of news program.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, this sounds like a painful but beautiful book! I agree, the cover is wonderful! I really do need to read more books in verse—I like them, but it seems like there just aren’t that many. I love the meme, although the image is mildly terrifying to look at! The quote is wonderful as well. Thank you for the wonderful post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love historical fiction and different stories about WW II, but I have never read anything about Manchuria. This novel sounds intriguing and I will be looking for a copy! Thank you for sharing!

    Love Fareed Zakaria and I did see that program last Sunday! Excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

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