A Song For Cambodia

By The Well-Read Child

Every now and then, I come across a story of survival that is truly amazing and defeats all odds. [A Song for Cambodia] is one of them. . . . Without going into graphic details, Michelle Lord tells the true story of the horrors Arn and many other Cambodians faced. Ms. Lord masterfully tells the story in a way that is appropriate for and not condescending to children, yet she doesn’t sugar coat the facts. We see Arn and his mother tearfully clinging to each other as the soldiers invade their village; we see children being led into a forest to be killed; we see Arn struggle with adapting to a new culture and experience nightmares and sadness for the loss of his family. The reader is left with no doubt that something terrible has happened. . . . Shino Arihara’s gouache illustrations are mostly done in muted earth tones, depicting the dark and sad tone of the story. We see brighter colors at the beginning of the story before the invasion and again at the end when Arn plays music in his new home. . . . A Song for Cambodia is a touching and inspirational story full of discussion opportunities, making it an excellent addition to a child’s home library or a social studies classroom.