House Without Walls

House Without Walls

Ching Yeung Russell


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For most people, home is a place with four walls. It's a place to eat, sleep, rest, and live. For a refugee, the concept of home is ever-changing, ever-moving, ever-wavering. And often, it doesn't have any walls at all.

Eleven-year-old Lam escapes from Vietnam with Dee Dee during the Vietnamese Boat People Exodus in 1979, when people from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia fled their homelands for safety. For a refugee, the trip is a long and perilous one, filled with dangerous encounters with pirates and greedy sailors, a lack of food and water, and even the
stench of a dead body onboard. When they finally arrive at a refugee camp, Lam befriends Dao, a girl her age who
becomes like a sister-a welcome glimmer of happiness after a terrifying journey.

Readers will feel as close to Lam as the jade pendant she wears around her neck, sticking by her side throughout
her journey as she experiences fear, crushing loss, boredom, and some small moments of joy along the way.

Written in verse, this is a heartfelt story that is sure to build empathy and compassion for refugees around the world
escaping oppression.


Ching Yeung Russell:
Ching Yeung Russell is a seasoned, award-winning author of many middle grade novels, including First AppleTofu Quilt, and Bungee Cord Hair. She was raised in China, where she was inspired to write after being told by her friend that she could eat more bowls of "dan lai"-a hard-to-get, sweet-milk custard she loved-if she became a successful writer. Ching has been friends with the real-life Lam and Dee Dee since 1986. She combined their refugee journey with the details and stories she heard while visiting a Vietnamese refugee camp in Hong Kong.