Never Fall Down

Book review by Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media
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Common Sense says

age 15+

Harrowing true story of boy in Cambodia's Killing Fields.

Parents say

age 14+

Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+

Based on 3 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 12+

Complex & Fast-moving

McCormick does an excellent job at conveying Arn's take on this horrific time in Cambodia's history. She does not, however, provide much background on Cambodia or communism. When I read through this novel with my eighth graders, I find it useful to provide supplementary background info on both Cambodian culture prior to the Khmer Rouge and on experiments with creating communist "utopias" more generally. Students will easily relate to young Arn and with assistance can use this novel to see how complex political situations can give rise to the conditions for genocide. McCormick also does an amazing job "rounding out" Arn's character for us. Faced with his complex situation, we see Arn's character adapt and grow in complexity as well. We also witness Arn's struggles after he arrives in America and attempts to fit into white American culture. There are countless points of meaningful discussion in this novel!

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
age 15+

Good but very violent

I read this book for the first time when I was 15. There were times when I had to step away from the page and take a break because the violence was so intense. It was horrifying. That said; I learned a lot, and the book is very well written. I felt like I was stepping into Arn's shoes.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much swearing

Book Details

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