‘Never Fall Down’: Surviving The Killing Fields
Prize-winning author Patricia McCormick is known for tackling challenging — even harrowing — themes in her young adult novels. Her book Sold, a National Book Award finalist, took on child trafficking. In her new book, Never Fall Down, she describes the atrocities of the Cambodian genocide, drawing upon the experiences of Arn Chorn-Pond, a real-life survivor, who joined her and NPR’s Scott Simon to discuss the novel and the lingering impact of his ordeal.
On meeting Arn
Patricia McCormick: “Arn was introduced to me by a neighbor in my apartment building in New York City. I could see that Arn had a lot of charisma and a fire to tell his story. The idea of creating a book, which is a lasting record of that story, was something I felt that Arn needed to get that story out more widely.”
On telling the story as a young adult novel
Patricia McCormick: “I think young adults get a bad rap for being self-absorbed and self-centered. My experience going around the United States and speaking in schools is that teenagers here are very interested in the fate of their peers around the world. They are deeply compassionate. I think it allows them to see that their lives are endurable, and it gives them inspiration and courage when they see kids like themselves under extraordinarily circumstances surviving.”