Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Children's Fiction Asia

The Taste of Rain

by (author) Monique Polak

Publisher
Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Sep 2019
Category
Asia, Values & Virtues, Physical & Emotional Abuse
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9781459820265
    Publish Date
    Sep 2019
    List Price
    $10.95
  • eBook

    ISBN
    9781459820289
    Publish Date
    Sep 2019
    List Price
    $13.99

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7
  • Reading age: 9 to 12

Description

It is 1945, and thirteen-year-old Gwen has been a prisoner at the Weihsien Internment Camp in northern China for nearly two and a half years. Gwen is one of 140 children who were enrolled at a boarding school in Chefoo when the Japanese Imperial Army invaded China.
Life in the camp is difficult. There is not enough food or water, and even the children are forced to do hard labor. But Miss E., one of their teachers from Chefoo, has come up with an unusual scheme: she will follow the Girl Guide Code, treating Gwen and her friends as if they are part of a Girl Guide troop. Girl Guides promise not only to stay positive in the most challenging situations but also to do good turns, meaning they must be kind to others without any expectation of reward. Gwendolyn hopes that when she grows up, she will be as courageous and optimistic as Miss E.
But then Gwen learns that Miss E. is not as full of answers as she seems, and she realizes that in order to protect a friend, she will have to do something that could never be considered a good turn.

About the author

MONIQUE POLAK is a regular contributor to The Montreal Gazette and has been published in many other major publications such as the Globe and Mail, The National Post, and Newsday. She is also the author of the Sports Stories novel Flip Turn, a Canadian Children's Centre Our Choice selection, and the SideStreets novels All In and On the Game, which was also an Our Choice selection. She lives in Montreal with her husband and daughter, where she teaches writing and English Literature.

www.moniquepolak.com

Monique Polak's profile page

Awards

  • Commended, USBBY Outstanding International Books List
  • Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens
  • Commended, OLA Best Bets—Top Ten

Editorial Reviews

“It is a reminder that WWII was also experienced beyond the borders of Europe giving new dimensions to a much-studied topic. A book that would be a good addition to the study of World War II.”

Resource Links

"So well-told and compelling…It is the sort of novel that will engage and inform grown-up readers as well. Highly Recommended."

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

“Polak competently explores the experience, adding perceptive touches such as the girls’ complicated feelings...A compelling story.”

The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books

“This book is highly recommended for middle school libraries. Its setting and historical references, although not as famous as that of the Holocaust, provide a backdrop for a tale that is as chilling as it can be without being over the top.”

Must Read Literature: K thru YA

"Fascinating piece of history."

Kirkus Reviews

“Highly readable with lots of dialogue, readers will encounter death and torture in learning about another aspect of the consequences of WWII, but will also learn of bravery and compassion, and the power of keeping ‘your chin up!’”

School Library Connection

“This beautiful book is a song to courage and kindness, voices raised in cheerfulness faced with the hollowness of hope. It’s about the dignity and spirit that frees a prisoner from despair, a deeply felt prayer and yet somehow—amazingly—a rousing hymn. I loved every note.”

Tim Wynne-Jones, award-winning author of The Emperor of Any Place

Other titles by Monique Polak

Related lists