Presenter of the National Book Awards

2012 National Book Award Finalist,
Young People's Literature

Patricia McCormick

Never Fall Down

Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers

Never Fall Down, by Patricia McCormick


One day, Arn Chorn’s world is transformed into a moveable hell ruled by Angka and black-pajama soldiers, where again and again he must yield the price demanded to go on living. Based on interviews, the harsh vignettes of Cambodian life under the Khmer Rouge are indelible, as McCormick’s narrative never flinches from scenes of murderous anarchy, or from the consequences of a boy’s four-year quest to survive a nightmare by bending like grass and never falling down.

Patricia McCormickAbout the Book

When the Khmer Rouge arrive at his hometown in Cambodia, Arn is just a kid, dancing to rock 'n' roll, hustling for spare change, and selling ice cream with his brother. But after the soldiers march the entire population into the countryside, Arn is separated from his family and assigned to a labor camp. One day, the soldiers ask if any of the kids can play an instrument. In order to survive, Arn must quickly master the strange revolutionary songs the soldiers demand. This will save his life, but it will also pull him into the very center of what we know today as the Killing Fields. And just as the country is about to be liberated, Arn is handed a gun and forced to become a soldier. He lives by the simple credo: “Over and over I tell myself one thing: never fall down.” Based on the true story of Arn Chorn-Pond, this is an achingly raw and powerful novel about a child of war who becomes a man of peace.

About the Author

Patricia McCormick is a former journalist who has won much acclaim for her compassionate approach to hard-hitting subjects. Her book Purple Heart was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2009, and Sold was a National Book Award finalist. Other seminal books she has written are the bestselling Cut and My Brother’s Keeper. Patty lives in New York with her family.



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VIDEO: Never Fall Down author Patricia McCormick speaks with Arn Chorn-Pond



Photo credit: Roberto Ligresti