By Michelle Lord
Illustrated by Shino Arihara
When Arn was a young boy in Cambodia, his days were filled with love, laughter, and the sweet sounds of music. That all changed suddenly in 1975 when Arn’s village was invaded by Khmer Rouge soldiers and his family was torn apart.
Nine-year-old Arn was taken to a children’s work camp, where he labored long hours in the rice fields under the glaring eyes of threatening soldiers. Overworked, underfed, and in constant fear for his life, Arn had to find a way to survive. When guards asked for volunteers to play music one day, Arn bravely raised his hand—taking a chance that would change the course of his life.
A Song for Cambodia is the inspirational true story of Arn Chorn-Pond. His heartfelt music created beauty in a time of darkness and turned tragedy into healing.
Society of School Librarians International
Paterson Prize for Books for Young People, Honor Book
- Interest Level
- Grades 1 - 6
- Reading Level
- Grades 4 and up
- Adoption, Asian/Asian American Interest, Biography, Coping with Death, Discrimination, Music, Overcoming Obstacles, War, Nonfiction, Poverty
Michelle Lord fell in love with the culture of Cambodia when she traveled there to adopt her youngest daughter. She was inspired to write Little Sap and Monsieur Rodin after discovering the story behind Auguste Rodin's Cambodian Dancer sketches. Lord lives in New Braunfels, Texas, with her husband and their three children. Little Sap and Monsieur Rodin is her first picture book.
Shino Arihara is a full-time illustrator who was born in the United States and grew up in Japan. She felt an immediate connection to Arn Chorn-Pond’s story because a close friend, and fellow artist, went through a similar experience when he lived in Cambodia. “I wanted to do this book for him,” says Arihara. She lives with her husband, a musician, in Redwood City, California.