Children of the River was written by Linda Crew, a children and young adult author. This novel was originally published during 1989 and was published again during 1991 by Laurel Leaf. It tells the story of a young girl named Sundara fleeing Cambodia to escape harsh military regimes with her aunt's family.
She escapes to the United States and struggles to carve out an identity for herself as a young adult. Her struggle lies in the tension between the customs of her Cambodian background and the unfamiliar nature of her new home. In the midst of it all, she manages to develop a romantic connection with an American boy.
Pointer of the Kirkus Reviews described the book as "a powerful first novel....A book to change readers' eyes and hearts." Publishers Weekly said it is "a moving look at the way in which a survivor of great tragedy...faces young adulthood." On the other hand, several Goodreads reviewers indicated dissatisfaction with Crew's writing style, noting that it is cliché and unmoving.
Crew was inspired to write this novel after enduring her own journey of survival and healing tied to her painkiller addiction. Children of the River earned her a 1990 nomination for the Michigan Library Association Thumbs Up! Award and the 1990 IRA Children's and Young Adult's Book Award for Older Reader Category.