Friday, November 18, 2011

A Step from Heaven

A Step From Heaven by An Na
Image courtesy of Library Thing

Na, An. A Step from Heaven. New York: Penguin Group, 2001.

2001 National Book Award Finalist
2002 Children's Book Award in YA Fiction – International Reading Association
2005 California Collections Selection
2005 Asian American Booklist, Grades 9 and Up, Read Across America, National Education Association
2001 - 2003 Asian Pacific American Award for Literature, Text in Children and Young Adult Fiction – Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association
2004 Reading List – Women's Division Reading Program Committee, General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church
2003 - 2004 Gateway Readers Award Nominee, Missouri Association of School Libraries
2003 - 2004 William Allen White Children's Book Award master list
2002 Notable Books for a Global Society – International Reading Association
2002 Notable Children's Book – American Library Association
2002 Best Book for Young Adults – American Library Association
2002 Children's Books of Distinction Award – Riverbank Review
2002 Fanfare Book – The Horn Book Honor List
2002 Bay Area Book Reviewers Association Award
2002 CCBC Choices
2002 Children's Literature Choice List
2002 Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award Master List
2002 Amelia Bloomer Project List
2002 White Ravens – International Youth Library of Munich
2002 Notable Books for the Language Arts – NCTE
2002 Notable Books for a Global Society, Children's Literature and Reading Special Interest group of the IRA
2001 Editor's Choice – Booklist
2001 New York Times Book Review Notable Book
2001 Best Books – School Library Journal
2001 Kiriyama Prize Notable Book Shortlist
2001 Best Children's Books – Publishers Weekly
2001 Best Book –
2001 Book LInks Lasting Connections
2001 Capitol Choices: Noteworthy Books for Children
2001 Top 10 Youth First Novels – Booklist

Annotation:  Mi Gook means America, the land a little Korean girl named Young Ju dreamt of with her father (Apa) and mother (Uhmma). However, none of them can imagine what awaited them there, nor for how living in Mi Gook will forever change this once happy family.

Book Talk: When you grow up A Step from Heaven, you know something better is not far off. You just don’t know when you will be in its midst.

“Here, try this drink. Everyone in Mi Gook loves Ko-ka Ko-la…He gives me a cup with dirty black water inside. I can see the bubbles floating…Just drink it, Young Ju, Apa growls. I put the cup to my mouth and take a small taste. Ahya! It hurts. This drink bites the inside if my mouth and throat like fish bones.”

Mi Gook and her life there was not at all the haven Young Ju envisioned. The American Dream was supposed to have be as sweet as the soda, but instead stabbed her with it’s sharpness, as Apa unraveled under the pressure of providing as an immigrant laborer.

“ 'Why does Apa do it?' I finally whisper and look to Uhmma for the answer.
Uhmma stares into the mirror, lipstick tight in hand. 'Young Ju, go now,' Uhmma says.
But I will not leave this time. Will not pretend. The sight of the dark bruises, some as big as an iron across her back, lingers in the inside if my eyelids…
'Why does Apa do it?' I ask again, louder…
'He is a very prideful man', Uhmma says.

'So he has to hit us,' I say and turn my face away.”

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