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Brother's Keeper High Res Image.jpg

North Korea, 1950:

No travel without a permit.

No criticism of the government.

No absences from communist meetings.

Repeat slogans.

Don't trust your neighbors.

Don't speak your mind.

You are being watched.

  • 2020 Freeman Book Award Winner 

  • 2021 International Literacy Association Children's and Young Adults' Book Award Winner

  • 2020 Jane Addams Children's Book Award Finalist

  • 2021 ALA Notable Children's Book

  • Junior Library Guild Selection

  • 2021 ALA Rise Selection

  • 2021-2022 VA Reads Selection

  • 2020 Booklist Lasting Connections Selection

  • 2021 Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year - with Outstanding Merit

  • Kirkus Best Middle Grade Book of 2020

  • Kirkus 10 Top Middle-Grade Summer Read of 2020

  • Booklist Top 10 First Novels for Youth 2020

  • 4 Starred Reviews

"In its portrayal of hardship and survival, 'Brother's Keeper' joins a rich tradition of stories about children on wartime journeys"  - The Wall Street Journal

“Debut author Lee paints this gripping and emotional midwinter escape with the eye of a wartime journalist and the determined  heart of a young girl.”  - Kirkus Reviews, starred review 

"Through her journey, Sora transforms from a precocious girl into a courageous and intelligent hero. Lee captures Sora's internal journey alongside the physical one, and in the process details the struggles of a refugee from the ground level. . . . An amazing debut and an important book that explores a part of history few younger readers are taught in school." - Booklist, starred review

"A moving, suspenseful refugee story, based loosely on the author's mother's experiences, the book is at heart a poignant exploration of a girl's struggle against traditional female roles and her determination to succeed on her own terms." - Publishers Weekly, starred review

"With an artful and expressive narrative voice, and inspiration drawn from her mother's experiences in Korea as a young woman, debut novelist Lee enthralls and enlightens." - School Library Journal, starred review

"The narrative makes a painful reality of the deprivation that people faced when fleeing their homes . . . At its heart, Brother’s Keeper is about families and how they overcome hardship and loss. The Korean War and Korean culture act as a powerful setting for this work, and the strength and sorrow of Sora and Youngsoo are haunting." - Foreword Reviews

"Lee's Brother's Keeper is a compelling #OwnVoices middle-grade novel that is both edifying and inspiring...Overlapping historical accuracy with personal testimony, Lee presents a nuanced story of strength, tenacity and everlasting family bonds."  - Shelf Awareness

Coming in May 2023

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Trapped in an enemy tunnel, a young refugee experiences the Korean War firsthand in this story of survival, loss, and hope, a companion to the Freeman Award-winning novel Brother's Keeper.

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A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

Available for preorder now


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