Home Bookshelf Book Review : A Wish in the Dark for Multicultural Children’s Book Day!

Book Review : A Wish in the Dark for Multicultural Children’s Book Day!

by Adrienne
Book Review for A wish in the dark

I was sent a copy of the book, “A wish in the Dark” by Christina Soontornvat published by Candlewick Press to share my review as part of Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2020.  Multicultural Children’s Book day this year is January 31, 2020 and this annual celebration highlights children’s book titles that reflect diverse families and cultures.

Multicultural Children’s books are:

Books that contain characters of color as well as main characters that represent a minority point of view.

Books written by an author of diversity or color from their perspective

Books that share ideas, stories, and information about cultures, race, religion, language, and traditions. These books can be non-fiction, but still written in a way that kids will find entertaining and informative.

Books that embrace special needs or even “hidden disabilities” like ADHD, ADD, and anxiety.

taken from Multicultural Childresn’s Book day website

“A Wish in the Dark” is a multicultural book because the author is of Thai-descent. The book takes places in Thailand and the character names are Thai-inspired. A Wish in the dark shares a glimpse about Thai culture like food they eat, way people are dressed, and shares about Buddhism. This book raises questions about a person’s worth with themes about justice, privilege and standing up for what you believe.

Brief Summary

A boy on the run. A girl determined to find him. A compelling fantasy looks at issues of privilege, protest, and justice.

All light in Chattana is created by one man — the Governor, who appeared after the Great Fire to bring peace and order to the city. For Pong, who was born in Namwon Prison, the magical lights represent freedom, and he dreams of the day he will be able to walk among them. But when Pong escapes from prison, he realizes that the world outside is no fairer than the one behind bars. Nok, the prison warden’s perfect daughter, is bent on tracking Pong down and restoring her family’s good name. But as Nok hunts Pong through the alleys and canals of Chattana, she uncovers secrets that make her question the truths she has always held dear. Set in a Thai-inspired fantasy world, Christina Soontornvat’s twist on Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables is a dazzling, fast-paced adventure that explores the difference between law and justice — and asks whether one child can shine a light in the dark.

frolm goodReads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38465017-a-wish-in-the-dark

An Interesting Way to Write a Story

The story in the beginning starts from the point of view of Pong, but gradually we start hearing from another character, Nok. The chapters continue where the other person’s narrative left off. We hardly hear both sides of the story. For example, we hear about Pong’s adventures after he escapes from prison and then we hear from Nok when she stumbles upon Pong in the mountains. The way their stories intertwine make the narrative so interesting.

For Adventure Seekers

There were sections of the book where I was on the edge of my seat, especially the parts where Pong is on the run after escaping prison and when he is about to get caught. I could feel the action. Although, I didn’t realize until half way through the book that it was a fantasy book with filled with magical experiences.

Favorite Character

My favorite character was Father Cham, the head of the monks, who became an important figure in Pong’s life. He was like a consultant and the experiences they had together shaped Pong’s decisions throughout the book. Father Cham sees the good in almost anyone he meets and prays special prayers for them. But he admitted to Pong that even he has made mistakes.

“I wanted to use my gift to help people, to wish away all the pain and suffereing in this world. But it was arrogant of me to think that I alone could save the whole world. (95).

Favorite Quotes

The Govenor often says “Chattana is a city of light, but that light must be earned. That is why I had this reform center built here, away from the city. To remind people that wickedness has a price. You see, light shines only on the worthy.”

“No questions asked. Everyone comes in the door with a clean slate.” (159)

“It was about finding that hidden light inside herself and letting it pour out.”(189)

I would recommend this to middle school children who are looking for adventure, a story about finding your worth and a quick read.

Thank you to the Multicultural Children’s Book Day Team for selecting me as a reviewer! As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2020 (1/31/20) is in its 7th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those book into the hands of young readers and educators.  

RELATED POSTS //  Multicultural Books Review and Interview with Elisavet Arkolaki

Seven years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues.

MCBD 2020  is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board

Super Platinum

Make A Way Media/ Deirdre “DeeDee” Cummings, 


Language Lizard, Pack-N-Go Girls


Audrey Press, Lerner Publishing Group, KidLit TV, ABDO BOOKS : A Family of Educational Publishers, PragmaticMom & Sumo Jo, Candlewick Press,


 Author Charlotte Riggle, Capstone Publishing, Guba Publishing, Melissa Munro Boyd & B is for Breathe,


Author Carole P. Roman, Snowflake Stories/Jill Barletti, Vivian Kirkfield & Making Their Voices Heard. Barnes Brothers BooksTimTimTom, Wisdom Tales Press, Lee & Low Books,  Charlesbridge Publishing, Barefoot Books Talegari Tales

Author Sponsor Link Cloud

Jerry Craft, A.R. Bey and Adventures in Boogieland, Eugina Chu & Brandon goes to Beijing, Kenneth Braswell & Fathers Incorporated, Maritza M. Mejia & Luz del mes_Mejia, Kathleen Burkinshaw & The Last Cherry Blossom, SISSY GOES TINY by Rebecca Flansburg and B.A. Norrgard, Josh Funk and HOW TO CODE A ROLLERCOASTER, Maya/Neel Adventures with Culture GrooveLauren Ranalli, The Little Green Monster: Cancer Magic! By Dr. Sharon Chappell, Phe Lang and Me On The Page, Afsaneh Moradian and Jamie is Jamie, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, TUMBLE CREEK PRESS, Nancy Tupper Ling, Author Gwen Jackson, Angeliki Pedersen & The Secrets Hidden Beneath the Palm Tree, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 by Mia Wenjen, Susan Schaefer Bernardo & Illustrator Courtenay Fletcher (Founders of Inner Flower Child Books), Ann Morris & Do It Again!/¡Otra Vez!, Janet Balletta and Mermaids on a Mission to Save the Ocean, Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo & Bruna Bailando por el Mundo\ Dancing Around the World, Shoumi Sen & From The Toddler Diaries, Sarah Jamila Stevenson, Tonya Duncan and the Sophie Washington Book Series, Teresa Robeson  & The Queen of Physics, Nadishka Aloysius and Roo The Little Red TukTuk, Girlfriends Book Club Baltimore & Stories by the Girlfriends Book Club, Finding My Way Books, Diana Huang & Intrepids, Five Enchanted Mermaids, Elizabeth Godley and Ribbon’s Traveling Castle, Anna Olswanger and Greenhorn, Danielle Wallace & My Big Brother Troy, Jocelyn Francisco and Little Yellow Jeepney, Mariana Llanos & Kutu, the Tiny Inca Princess/La Ñusta Diminuta, Sara Arnold & The Big Buna Bash, Roddie Simmons & Race 2 Rio, DuEwa Frazier & Alice’s Musical Debut, Veronica Appleton & the Journey to Appleville book series  Green Kids Club, Inc.

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts

A Crafty Arab, Afsaneh Moradian, Agatha Rodi Books, All Done Monkey, Barefoot Mommy, Bethany Edward & Biracial Bookworms, Michelle Goetzl & Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms Share, Colours of Us, Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Educators Spin on it, Shauna Hibbitts-creator of eNannylink, Growing Book by Book, Here Wee Read, Joel Leonidas & Descendant of Poseidon Reads {Philippines}, Imagination Soup, Kid World Citizen, Kristi’s Book Nook, The Logonauts, Mama Smiles, Miss Panda Chinese, Multicultural Kid Blogs, Serge Smagarinsky {Australia}, Shoumi Sen, Jennifer Brunk & Spanish Playground, Katie Meadows and Youth Lit Reviews

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