Tubby, nine-year-old Boom lives in a village in northeastern Thailand on the Mekong River. As he rides to school in his trishaw every morning, the other boys yell at him and call him names. Boom has no friends. How do you make friends? he wonders.
Things begin to change when his mother takes him to a festival at the village school where she teaches. Boom helps his team win the tug-of-war competition, and he ends up with a friend!
One friend brings more friends. Boom’s days become very full—swimming in the river, camping out, hunting lizards, playing football—and it is Boom’s goodness that helps create a network of close friends within and beyond his village community.
Mekong Kids is a translation of Luk Mae Nam Khong (????????????) (2001), the award-winning Thai-language novel.
The main character learns to take responsibility for his actions, overcome his fears, bridge barriers, and help enemies become friends. He displays integrity, thoughtfulness, loyalty, kindness, sincerity, and courage.
Friendship is shown to override social and national barriers.
The distinctive setting of northeastern Thailand adds rich cultural themes.
A map, cultural notes, discussion questions, and a glossary are included.
About the author
Khemachat (Khem Chutthong) grew up on the Mekong River in Nong Khai province of northeastern Thailand. After working as a civil engineer for many years, he took up writing, and in 2001, he won the Waen Kaeo award for the original Thai edition of Mekong Kids, the first in a trilogy. His second and third novels have each won two awards, in 2005 and 2008.