Peacebound Trains

by Haemi Balgassi and Chris K. Soentpiet

During these years while her mother, or umma, is away in the U.S. Army, young... read more

During these years while her mother, or umma, is away in the U.S. Army, young Sumi lives with her grandmother or harmuny. Sumi feels particularly lonesome for Umma one day, so Harmuny tells the girl what happened when Umma was a baby in Seoul, Korea, in 1951. Fleeing from Seoul and increasing dangers, Harmuny and Sumi's grandfather, or harabujy, took their children and the belongings they could carry and started walking toward far away Pusan. Finally Harabujy decided that the best chance his wife and their children might have for survival would be to ride with hundreds of other desperate refugees on top of the last train going South. The family made it safely, but they never saw Harabujy again. The story is based on actual experiences in the lives of Balgassi's mother and grandmother. Both she and Soentpiet were born in Seoul. Soentpiet's marvelous watercolors grace each page, expanding the contemporary and historical scenes and specifying cultural details. This compelling fictional account is divided into eight short sections. (Ages 8-12)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 1996

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