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Rice from Heaven is a true story about compassion and bravery as a young girl and her community in South Korea help deliver rice via balloons to the starving and oppressed people in North Korea.
"We reach a place where mountains become a wall. A wall so high, no one dares to climb. Beyond that wall and across the sea live children just like me, except they do not have food to eat."
Yoori lives in South Korea and doesn't know what North Korea is like, but her father (Appa) does. Appa grew up in North Korea, where he did not have enough food to eat. Starving, he fled to South Korea in search of a better life. Yoori doesn't know how she can help as she's only a little "grain of rice" herself, but Appa tells her that they can secretly help the starving people by sending special balloons that carry rice over the border.
Villagers glare and grumble, and children protest feeding the enemy, but Yoori doesn't back down. She has to help. People right over the border don't have food. No rice, and no green fields.
With renewed spirit, volunteers gather in groups, fill the balloons with air, and tie the Styrofoam containers filled with rice to the tails of the balloons. With a little push, the balloons soar up and over the border, carrying rice in the darkness of the night over to North Korea.
About the Author
Tina M. Cho, currently living and teaching in South Korea, has been in the protagonist's shoes. She has partnered with a North Korean refugee organization to send rice balloons over the border.
Tina is the author of The Girl's Guide to Manners, 26 guided reading books from Lakeshore Learning and Compass Media, a coloring book, God Is So Good, and an e-book, Seasons of the Asian Pear Tree. She teaches at an international school and writes for the children's and educational markets. Though she grew up in Iowa, she now lives in South Korea. You can learn more about Tina at tinamcho.com.
Keum Jin Song lives in Daegu, South Korea, where she was born. Passionate about her work as an illustrator, she takes her inspiration from nature, which is reflected in her detailed, dreamy style with its smooth, wavy lines.