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The House Before Falling into the Sea (Hardcover)

The House Before Falling into the Sea By Ann Suk Wang, Hanna Cha (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Ann Suk Wang, Hanna Cha (Illustrator)
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A child and her family take in refugees during the Korean War in this poignant picture book about courage and what it really means to care for your neighbors.

Every day, more and more people fleeing war in the north show up at Kyung Tak and her family’s house on the southeastern shore of Korea. With nowhere else to go, the Taks' home is these migrants' last chance of refuge “before falling into the sea,” and the household quickly becomes crowded, hot, and noisy. Then war sirens cry out over Kyung's city too, and her family and their guests take shelter underground. When the sirens stop, Kyung is upset—she wishes everything could go back to the way it was before: before the sirens, before strangers started coming into their home. But after an important talk with her parents, her new friend Sunhee, and Sunhee’s father, Kyung realizes something important: We’re stronger when we have each other, and the kindness we show one another in the darkest of times is a gift we’ll never regret.

***Three starred reviews***
*”A poignant tale of light in the darkness—and compassion in times of war.”—Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Ann Suk Wang, born in Korea, is a graduate of UCLA and Boston University in mass communications and a former journalist. She lives in California with a husband, two sons and a canine son. The House Before Falling Into the Sea is her first picture book.

Hanna Cha, Caldecott honor- and APALA winning-illustrator of The Truth About Dragons, is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. She spent her childhood in both Korea and America and currently lives in Boston, where she loves crinkling her nose in the early morning breeze and snuggling her tiger-like cat, Hobac. Hanna is also the illustrator of Circle Round and author-illustrator of Tiny Feet Between the Mountains.

Praise For…

“This gorgeous picture book depicts a historical moment rarely, if ever, covered in picture books—the Korean War—with stunning illustrations and deft prose that centers on a young girl’s experience. . . . It’s an accessible, compassionate, and lovely picture book."—Book Riot

*“Drawing from her own family’s experiences, Wang has crafted a lyrical gem of a story. Adopting a child’s perspective, the author manages to make topics such as warfare and loss of one’s home comprehensible to a young audience, while Cha’s bold strokes and splashes of color convey movement and enhance the emotional weight of the subject."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

*“Cha’s illustrations pay exquisite attention to the beauty of the seaside landscape, using color to intensify the experience of being near the ocean. Vibrant greens and blues swirl, producing the feeling of an ever-moving sea, while wheaty shades of tan create sand and scrub, all of which contrast with the darkness of a makeshift air raid shelter where women and children hide. This gorgeously illustrated book contains surprisingly beautiful turns of phrase and metaphors (“we sat like two quiet hills, the breeze combing through our hair”). A touching homage to the author’s own grandparents’ heroism, which also offers rare insight into complex feelings about personal sacrifice and witnessing the suffering of others.”—The Horn Book Review, starred review

*“Wang’s story, based on her mother’s account of growing up in a household that welcomed people displaced during the Korean War, is a touching narrative that focuses mainly on the children’s experiences. The back matter includes an informative glossary and notes from both the writer and the illustrator, whose grandmother lived near the story’s setting as a teenager. Cha’s expressive mixed-media illustrations reflect the characters’ emotions and recreate the beautiful setting in this moving picture book.”—Booklist, starred review
Product Details
ISBN: 9780593530153
ISBN-10: 0593530152
Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date: March 12th, 2024
Pages: 40
Language: English