Eleven year-old Thanika Auk remembers the day when gun wielding boys, younger than she, drove her and her family out of their home in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on April 17, 1975. She and millions of others were forced out into the rural countryside, by Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge Communists, and forced into hard labor villages. This was the beginning of one of the bloodiest times in human history when 1 in 4 Cambodians perished from murder, starvation, or disease. Many were killed because they were educated, had money, or wore western-style clothing. These were all threats to those in power. Because of the Auk family’s ties to one or more of these things, Thanika's own brother, and many of her other family members, met this undeserving fate. She, her parents, and her other brother, fought daily to avoid being discovered. They worked in extremely desolate working conditions to survive and eventually were able to escape the dangers of Cambodia and come to America. Thanika's true story is told from her perspective and is followed by commentary and historical referenced facts. It is a story that is being told so the younger generation of Cambodians know their past and that others in our society can prevent anything like it in the future.
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