Based on a true story, Rice from Heaven: The Secret Mission to Feed North Koreans gives a softer view of a very true hardship the people of North Korea face. When a village in South Korea decides to secretly send balloons filled with rice to feed the hungry people of North Korea, they are faced with many obstacles: the other villagers do not want to give aide to the enemy. The North Korean soldiers could see the balloons and shoot them down. They do not know if the people get the food as everything is done in a way that nobody knows if the food was found. The reader does wonder how Styrofoam containers filled with rice tied to the tails of the balloons could make it across the borders.
Also, the book is filled with pages of amazingly detailed facts about the history of the rice launches, both North and South Korea history and the current situation. As well as author Tina M. Cho words about her own participation in a launch. The illustrations of Keum Jin Song are rich and bold and soft all at once. They tell the story along with the text of Cho. Each complement each other. You can see the Asian influence of their heritage. The contrast between North and South Korean is perfectly done so the transition is smooth, but obvious what is happening.
Perhaps, the story is a bit optimistic and romantic, yet, it is a good introduction to how the world is not the same all over and in fact, not even the same in an area where technically both nations are Korean but could not be more different. Aimed at older children, adults will enjoy it as well.