Under the Same Sky: From Starvation in North Korea to Salvation in America

Under the Same Sky: From Starvation in North Korea to Salvation in America


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A searing story of starvation and survival in North Korea, followed by a dramatic escape, rescue by activists and Christian missionaries, and success in the United States thanks to newfound faith and courage

Inside the hidden and mysterious world of North Korea, Joseph Kim lived a young boy’s normal life until he was five. Then disaster struck: the first wave of the Great Famine, a long, terrible ordeal that killed millions, including his father, and sent others, like his mother and only sister, on desperate escape routes into China. Alone on the streets, Joseph learned to beg and steal. He had nothing but a street-hardened survival instinct. Finally, in desperation, he too crossed a frozen river to escape to China.

There a kindly Christian woman took him in, kept him hidden from the authorities, and gave him hope. Soon, through an underground network of activists, he was spirited to the American consulate, and became one of just a handful of North Koreans to be brought to the U.S. as refugees. Joseph knew no English and had never been a good student. Yet the kindness of his foster family changed his life.  He turned a new leaf, became a dedicated student, mastered English, and made it to college, where he is now thriving thanks to his faith and inner strength. Under the Same Sky is an unforgettable story of suffering and redemption.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780544705272
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 06/28/2016
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 422,295
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.72(d)

About the Author

JOSEPH KIM was born in North Korea in 1990. In 2006 he came to the United States, where he completed high school. He is currently a college student in New York City.

STEPHAN TALTY is the coauthor of several works of narrative nonfiction, including Captain Phillips.

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Under the Same Sky: From Starvation in North Korea to Salvation in America 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bravo for letting the world see life in this closed society. All it's brutally and failed social policy that imprisons and starves citizens both children and adults alike. Great read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow! What an Amazing story of what life was like growing up in North Korea for Joseph Kim. This book makes me feel very grateful to have been born in the USA. It makes me hurt for the North Korean people. To anyone feeling bad about their life in America, read this book! I Guarantee it will leave you feeling truly blessed to be in this country. Joseph Kim's story will stay with me for a long time, and I wish him much happiness and good health for the rest of his life. God Bless Him!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“My life had changed so much that sometimes I had to go back and touch my memories to make sure they were real” (Kim 139). The novel Under The Same Sky is a true story about a North Korean family in the 1900’s living in the time of a famine. While trying to survive with very little food and resources, the living conditions in North Korea became unsafe. Their desperate plans of escaping to China and later America is hopeful but not guaranteed. The descriptive and informative information in Under The Same Sky make it a book that teaches readers what family's lives were like in this time during North Korea. Under The Same Sky is a nonfiction story that follows a child’s life in North Korea in the late 1900’s. From family members dying, to living on the streets, to escaping to China, the narrator covers the difficult life. Kwang Jin grew up in a steady income household with plenty of food to eat and no worries about money. Years later a famine hit parts of North Korea that weakened and destroyed the well being and lives of almost everyone. “In the spring of 1996, we clung to the edge of life” (Kim 29). Being thrown out on the streets to fend for himself multiple times as well as even being thrown out by his own relatives, Kwang Jin spends most of his time stealing belongings to sell and scavenging for any food he can find. The hardships Kwang Jin had to undergo included watching his father die right in front of him, as well as his sister being sold off into prostitution in China never to see her again. Kwang Jin makes an escape to China and while there he becomes a new person with a new life. No struggles, no questioning whether or not he will have food that night, his life in China was like his life when he was a young boy in North Korea. “All of grandma's dumplings and rice and beef with orange had an effect; I was getting chubby” (Kim 239). The famine in North Korea drastically changed families lives as well as split them up. The novel keeps readers engaged and informed, wanting to know what is going to happen next. Under The Same Sky is a descriptive and informative nonfiction book about a boy’s life in North Korea in the late 1900’s. The book makes it easier for the readers to understand what starvation is like, as well as being homeless and relying on oneself for everything. “Kkotjebi arrived, tiny black-faced figures in oily, ragged clothing, begging for a bit of food or watching for their moment to steal” (Kim 127). The author makes it very clear that the living conditions for the homeless children in this time are very unsafe and life threatening. Kwang Jin luckily is taught how to steal and has a few relatives around that were willing to give him a bite to eat. “That night I walked three or four miles in and around Hoeryong looking for something to eat, but found nothing” (Kim 126). Although the lack of food and shelter is a major issue, the children learn to adapt and live in the harsh conditions. Under The Same Sky is a descriptive nonfiction novel that informs readers about what some children’s lives were like in North Korea. Under The Same Sky is an entertaining and informative book that keeps the reader engaged throughout the whole text. The book is written in a sad way which made it easier for the reader to realize how bad the conditions are for the families in North Korea during this time. “The weaker we grew the less terrifying death seemed” (Kim 84). The challenges and hardships they had to go through ar
Anonymous More than 1 year ago