The Rent Collector

Adapted for Young Readers from the Best-Selling Novel

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Pub Date 05 Apr 2022 | Archive Date 19 Apr 2022

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Description

Based on true events.

Sang Ly lives at Cambodia’s city dump and is grateful she can help earn a living for her family by sifting through the trash for recyclables and things which can be repaired and sold. On a good day, she can earn enough to buy food for her family. She needs enough good days so she can pay the rent collector, Sopeap—a grumpy old woman who shows no mercy and who is willing to evict any tenant who can’t pay their rent on time.

When Sang Ly is unable to pay her rent for the month, she fears her family will have to leave the dump and their shanty home—a place where her only possessions can be carried in two hands. Little does she know that a discarded children’s book found among the mounds of trash would save her. When Sopeap sees the book lying on Sang Ly’s cardboard bed, her mood changes. Sang Ly offers her the book if she is allowed to keep her family at the dump.

An unlikely friendship develops between the two women, and Sang Ly learns that Sopeap knows how to read—something Sang Ly has always wanted to learn. Being able to read could transform Sang Ly’s world beyond the predictable confines of the dump and lead to a future with possibilities and hope.

But the rent collector has a secret and tragic past, one that will not be easy for Sang Ly to navigate. With the help of her supportive husband, Ki Lim, and a helpful and humorous boy, Lucky Fat, Sang Ly embarks on a life-changing journey to give her young son, Nisay, a better life and future.

The Rent Collector is about the power of literacy, the influence of the past, and finding hope, resiliency, and empowerment in the face of seemingly endless hardship.
 
Based on true events.

Sang Ly lives at Cambodia’s city dump and is grateful she can help earn a living for her family by sifting through the trash for recyclables and things which can be repaired and...

Advance Praise

"What an incredible story! I just devoured it. I am looking forward to sharing it with my students."

—Laura Bastian, fifth-and sixth-grade teacher


"The message of the importance of the written language and reading is so profound and important. So many good themes to discuss with fifth-grade students. I loved it!"

—Jenny Rabe, fifth-grade teacher


"A beautiful story. I couldn't put it down. I would recommend it to be read in sixth-and seventh-grade classrooms for the meaningful discussions it would create."

—Marissa Cylinder, fifth-and sixth-grade teacher


Praise for The Rent Collector:


"The written word offers hope for a brighter future in Wright's fact-based new novel. Wright's book…shimmers."

Publishers Weekly


"A beautifully told story about the perseverance of the human spirit and the importance of standing up for what is right. This inspirational multicultural story will strike a chord with [young] readers."

Booklist


"Through Sang Ly and the rent collector, readers will discover . . . the uplifting power of literature."

School Library Journal


Book of the Year Gold Award

Foreword Reviews

"What an incredible story! I just devoured it. I am looking forward to sharing it with my students."

—Laura Bastian, fifth-and sixth-grade teacher


"The message of the importance of the written...


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ISBN 9781629729855
PRICE $17.99 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

This story is BEAUTIFUL. Its adapted for young readers so i guess there's another version for adults which i would absolutely read, but this version was so insightful as well!

Sang Ly lives in a dump with her husband and son. They scavenge through recycling in order to leave. Sang Ly's son becomes ill and then the rent collector starts calling for money. This story is all about Sang Ly's journey to save her son and discover the power of reading.

Honestly. Its amazing. It has so many lessons in it and theres no reason and adult shouldn't read it. I love books about books... and this author understood the assignment. Its heartbreaking and powerful, a must read!

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I read the original Rent Collector in 2013 and enjoyed the book that was inspired by a true story. I wanted to read this version written for young readers thinking of my teenagers!

This story takes place in Cambodia at the dump—at the dump where people live. They live day to day sorting through trash looking for items and metal to sell to collect enough money to buy food for the day. I loved this aspect of the story—lets show our children how hard people work to make ends meet.

The story is shown from the perspective of a woman and her life at the dump. She has a husband that goes out and sorts and a baby who has chronic diarrhea. But, the story is about the Rent Collector—the woman who collects rent for the land owner of the dump. You may live at the dump, but there is still rent to pay!

I loved the little bit of history of the Khmer Rouge, the story of an adult learning to read and the power of words, and the compassion humans have for one another. I found some of the reading references and books talked about to be a bit boring for a teen, but the story makes it worth it.

Have your youth read this for a glimpse into a whole other world and life. Help them to see how one can still give even if you have nothing. I think it’s so important for our children to learn to be compassionate, try to help others, serve, listen and love which this book encapsulates so well.

Thank you to NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for an advance e-copy in return for my honest review.

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This book is so beautiful and moving! It is a jewel and I’m so glad I got the chance to read it.

The prose in this book is beyond beautiful, it reminded me so much of how The Life of Pi is written.

This is a book of hopelessness, redemption and heart.

* I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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New to me author, Cameron Wright, tells the story of a young family living in the largest municipal waste dump in Cambodia. Life unfolds in the first-person narrative of Sang Ly.

Families living in Stung Meanchey are struggling to support themselves by foraging for junk in the garbage. Sang Ly, and her husband Ki are raising a baby in the dump and he is sick as you might imagine given the conditions, Making life even more harsh is the fact of the violent and lawless gang members. Living in a dump still has the reality of rent to pay. Sopeap Sin is the rent collector who visits the family's home demanding payment, On one visit she is unexpectedly taken by Nisay's children's book. Sang Ly then realizes Sopeap is literate, Sang Ly, thinking learning to read may be her ticket out of this horrible existence, devises a plan to learn to read and write from the old miserable woman.

Sopeap is known for her short temper, frequent drunkenness, and graceless spirit. Sopeap Initially wants no part of Sang Ly's request. Finally, after establishing several conditions, she finally agrees to teach Sang Ly, and even waves the couple's rent.

The more Sang Ly learns, the more she wants to know. When Sang Ly asks Sopeap to teach her about literature, Sopeap warns her about the dangers of probing this rich and complicated world. But Sang Ly is determined to learn and build a better life for Nisay.

Nisay suffers from severe dehydration, malnutrition, and diarrhea. Despite Sang Ly's visits to both Eastern and Western doctors, Nisay remains weak and sick. One day Nisay becomes unresponsive and is nearly immobilized by weakness. With the help of a generous moto driver, Sang Ly manages to bring Nisay to a children's hospital.

She gives her address to the hospital officials so they know there will be no money collected for the visit. Nisay is treated by an impatient doctor and his condition stabilizes, but her troubles are far from over.

This book puts the reader right in the miseries of the dump, prostitution, sickness, and the ruthless gangs.

This story, based on truth and on real people, will remind you that possessions are just things and what truly matters in life is happiness, love, family, friends and your health.

My only negative is there is a lot of wordiness to read through to get to the meat of the story.

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This book is a children’s/YA version of an adult book previously published. I was unfamiliar with the adult book, but the cover art for this version really drew me in. Overall I give this book a solid four stars. I admittedly know very little about Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge, so I enjoyed learning more about the country - but do not know how accurate any of it is. The plot twisted a great deal at the end and I was very being surprised by what I learned! I enjoyed the emphasis on learning to read and devouring literature. There are numerous questions, axioms, and stories included and I feel that this could be a book that would lead to very rich discussion in a classroom. Some prior teaching on Cambodia and it’s history would be important, and the heartless killing by the army in one character’s past may be difficult for children to handle. I would recommend it for sixth or seventh grade and up. The only thing that rang rather hollow to me was the relationship of the main character and her son. We are told that she is learning to read so she can give him a better life. However, we do not see her interacting with him other than cleaning him up or passing him to others to be taken care of, at least until about 2/3 of the way through the book. As a mother myself, this portrayal seemed cold and unfortunate. I did read the eARC so maybe this will be changed a bit for final publication. Regardless, this book celebrated reading, teaching, and literature in a wholly different way, and I enjoyed it. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me the eARC in exchange for my honest review!

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I hadn't read the original/ adult version of this book but picked this up as a potential new classroom library addition for next year. The story was really engaging and I really enjoyed the language and storytelling used throughout the book.

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One thing this book did make us feel was being very grateful for our own life in this country. This sparked much discussion regarding where you were born and the opportunities given to you in life. The story itself is strong and moving and shows how others are often forced to survive (and possibly thrive) in very difficult situations.

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I really enjoyed reading this book. I loved that this is based on a true story. It is an amazing story about two amazing women. I had not known anything about this culture or what happened in this time period. It was very educational for me. I will definitely recommend this book to my students. The students like to read books that are true but read like a story as this one did. I was hooked from the start.

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From the beautiful cover to the book summary, I was so amped to read this book and it largely provided me what I was looking for. I found the narrative a little awkward but I think kids will really respond to this story since it will be a window into another culture for many of them.

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The Rent Collector
Adapted for Young Readers from the Best-Selling Novel
by Camron Wright
Pub Date 05 Apr 2022
Shadow Mountain Publishing, Shadow Mountain
Middle Grade | Teens & YA





I am reviewing a copy of The Rent Collector through Shadow Mountain Publishing and Netgalley:




Sang Ly lives at Cambodia’s city dump and is grateful she can help earn a living for her family by sifting through the trash for recyclables and things which can be repaired and sold. On good days she is able to earn enough to buy food for her family. She needs enough good days so she can pay the rent collector, Sopeap—a grumpy old woman who shows no mercy and who is willing to evict any tenant who can’t pay their rent on time.





When Sang Ly can’t earn enough money to pay the rent for a month she fears her family will have to leave the dump and their shanty home a place where her only possessions can be carried in two hands. What she doesn’t know is a discarded children’s book found among the mounds of trash would save her. When Sopeap sees the book lying on Sang Ly’s cardboard bed, her mood changes. Sang Ly offers her the book if she is allowed to keep her family at the dump.




Before long an unlikely friendship develops between the two women, and Sang Ly learns that Sopeap knows how to read something Sang Ly has always wanted to learn. Being able to read could transform Sang Ly’s world beyond the predictable confines of the dump and lead to a future with possibilities and hope.



But the rent collector has a secret and tragic past, one that will not be easy for Sang Ly to navigate. With the help of her supportive husband, Ki Lim, and a helpful and humorous boy, Lucky Fat, Sang Ly embarks on a life-changing journey to give her young son, Nisay, a better life and future.



I give The Rent Collector five out of five stars!


Happy Reading!

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So grateful to have had the opportunity to read this book prior to its release… The Rent Collector by @authorcamronwright opened my eyes to painful and horrendous Cambodian history and circumstances that one couldn’t imagine finding beauty in…but it’s there when you look and listen to the messages of the story (btw this is based on true events) the love and the hope will take your breath away.

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I always love books that talk about the power of "story". In this book, reading and "story" seem to be the only way to escape the harshness of the reality of living in poverty. Sang Ly recognizes this power and uses her determination and will to learn to read and deliver herself and her family from the harsh life in which they find themselves.

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Wow. This book was amazing. The story was so engaging that I had to force myself to put it down so I could get some work done. I learned so much about Cambodia, its history, and the struggles of its people.
Sang Ly and her family live in abject poverty in a garbage dump in Cambodia. They eke out a living by picking through the garbage to find anything they can sell. Life is hard. Sang Ly’s husband, Ki, is robbed and severally beaten after a successful day of picking. Their son Nisay is critically ill and they must spend hard earned money on medicines for him – medicines that only work for a short time. But there is hope. And that hope comes in the form of a surely rent collector.
This is a beautifully told story of poverty, family, perseverance, redemption, and the power of literacy. But mostly it is a story of hope. I did not realize until I’d finished that this young adult adaptation is based on a true story. That fact makes it even more compelling. Highly recommended. Thanks to NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for giving me an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

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3.5/5

Perhaps it's because it is edited for young readers, that the tone of the book sounded a bit off. It took me some time to hook to the story but i am glad i kept reading because once it happened , the book was unput-downable. I liked the way the stories were mixed into the narrative and all the lessons that Sang-ly learned. Of all, i loved Sopeap Sun 's story as it is revealed gradually. Maybe it was too slow and little too late when we find her story in this book that impacted my early interest. Overall a good story , but writing could be little better.

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ARC provided from NetGalley! Thank you!

This story is written beautifully for young readers! While I haven't read the adult book, I loved the plot and felt as if it was a great engaging adaption for younger readers. The book is empowering and incredibly powerful, even if the message and harshness of the situation seemed less hopeless as it actually is. I loved the representation of Cambodia and the message this book conveyed about hope and never giving up. It emphasizes the power of literature, a message that is strong and will stick in the minds of young readers.

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Touching book that has you walking in others’ shoes…beautiful story of the importance of reading and the joy it brings. Excellent Lit circle choice for middle grade or high school!

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This was a really lovely story about how the love of reading can open doors and make even the bleakest of life moments can still be made easier when you know what you're walking into.
This middle-grade adaptation is based on Camron Wright's novel with the same title The Rent Collector, is about a young woman who lives in a large Cambodian dump with her husband and young, ill son. Although it's unfortunate that her son is sick throughout the whole story, it's actually about the young woman, Sang Ly.
After being gifted a picture book that was found in the garbage she looks at the pictures and pretends to entertain her little boy with a story of her own based on what she saw. But she had the deep desire to learn to read. One day when the dump's rent collector, Sopeap, comes around at the end of the month and spots the book in Sang Ly's things and snags it away without much of a word. Stung Meanchey isn't known to have educated garbage pickers, so it was very much a surprise when, Sang Ly learns that Sopeap can open up an opportunity that she never thought possible, after making multiple pleas she manages to convince Sopeap into teach her to read.
Throughout the numerous lessons, many life events happen to Sang Ly and her little family, but because of her new-found knowledge she was able to navigate more confidently and learned how the lessons from Sopeap's books caused her to have more questions about life rather than help her seek answers..
I thought this was a very touching story and think it'd be a very good way of teaching children that even in the worst of life circumstance, like living in a dump, can still have bright sides. That one isn't so much alone unless you allow it to be that way, and that people work together can achieve big things. Plus, reminding them that learning to read is a good thing even if those book reports can seem like a chore 😉
- K

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A true example of the power of reading and how it can open doors for true change, if you just give it a chance. As I currently work with Sixth Form age students, I will also be investigating the original story too.

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Since I enjoyed this read, I gave it a 4 hearts rating. The writing is okay but the story is very rich. It has characters who anyone can relate to. Also, the stories in the story were very interesting. The story highlights that reading or education can help elevate your status in life. Reading is magic that can do a lot of things. I am more open to reading short stories from other countries because of it. The ending was abrupt but it was satisfying in its own way. This read could be read by anyone, it is informative and would make you reflect and be thankful for everything that you have and whatever situation you are in.

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This book was beautiful. Haunting, hopeful, sad and powerful. I loved it.
It began so sad and dArk and hopeless. But through the power of a book and a desire to learn to read, lives were changes and like the phoenix rising from the ashes, life and hope rose from the ashes of the dump.
Beautiful, powerful book.

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This is one of the most humbling books I have read in a while. Sang Ly lives with her husband Ki and song Nisay in Stung Mancheay, Cambodia's largest garbage dump. They live in a shelter made from tarps and canvas, and they make their money by finding scraps to resell. Life is a struggle and having enough money to pay the rent collector, Sopeap.

When Sang Ly finds a discarded children's book, Sopeap reveals her past as a teacher and hesitantly makes a deal to teach Sang Ly how to read. Sang Ly falls in love with stories and is filled with hope that education may be the key to unlock a different life for her family.

The ending to this story was impacting and satisfying. I do think the pacing and some of the narration would make this a dense book for some young readers to get through. However, I can see this being such a valuable discussion starter for the right reading group or classroom. Middle school readers will have a whole new perspective opened to them through this book.

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When one reads a good book, you will enter into the beauty of the world of more books you want to explore and learn from. The author has captured that well with one of the MCs. I have seen places like this, and they really do live complicated lives — it is indeed gut-wrenching, and some might feel hopeless. However, I am glad the author captured how books can change one's perspective in life and influence others to make a change.

Wise words: "We can discover hope, build courage, and find peace even in the most difficult places."

I give this book 3 stars and recommend it to middle-grade teachers as required reading for their students. Thank you to the publisher for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review.

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This book was fantastic when I read the adult version, and it's just as good as a young-adult version! Very glad to have had the opportunity to read it again, and I'll be introducing it to my students.

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This book was absolutely amazing! I believe it's a book that we can all learn from in more ways than one. I thought the book would be incredible if you wanted to read about an original story. I highly recommend!! Thanks for the copy!

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I enjoyed this book because of it's writing style, unique topic, and the fact that it really provided a thought-provoking experience. Recommended for readers who want to read slowly so as to take time to process.

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Sang Ly lives on the edge of a dump with her husband and their sick baby boy. They make their living by picking through the trash and collecting the recyclables to sell. But Sang Ly dreams of a better life away from the dump. She knows she needs to learn to read to have any chance to make her dreams happen, so she asks the grumpy and often inebriated rent collector, Sopeap Sin who reluctantly agrees to teach her. Sopeap had once been a teacher, but was forced to stop during the Cambodian revolution when the Khmer Rouge put an end to education and slaughtered intellectuals, including teachers. Sang Ly learns quickly and despite Sopeap Sin's impatience, Sang Ly's world and imagination are expanded as she learns to appreciate literature and stories. There is danger in the dump, Sopeap Sin has a big secret, and Sang Ly is desperate to find the answer to her son's illness. This book really opens the reader's eyes into the harsh reality of the lives of people who live in dumps. The book is compelling, interesting, and I really liked it.

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I never knew that there are people with families living in a dump site and had to pay rent! It is an eye opener for me. This book is about Sang Ly who has been living there ( Stung Meanchey - the largest municipal waste dump in Cambodia) since she was born and how a book saved her. Not only that, it reminded me of why I love literature.

“They try to live life from the trash that others throw away” This line saddened me so much. It took me awhile to continue to read the book. Knowing that it is based on true events, I had to know what it is all about.

Life in the dump site is war everyday. They have to be very strong physically and mentally to survive there. It breaks my heart when I read about things that had happened there. Things they need to do to survive shows how much some people are suffering in this world and it is very difficult to grasp that such livelihood exists 😣.
Knowing that some of them would help each other to survive despite they themselves are struggling to even find food gives me a slight relief.

How a book saved Sang Ly and her family? This is something so remarkable. “I don’t expect reading to make his body well. But I trust reading will give him a reason to fight. I believe reading will fill him with courage” This is when Sang Ly’s life changed. Sopeap Sin the Rent Collector who is well known to be not a pleasant woman taught Sang Ly how to read and how she changed Sang Ly’s life. From here on I read how a mother would do anything for her family. How a woman had suffered for years to survive. It gave me hope and the encouragement for me to live my life to the fullest. It also shows how powerful knowledge is. As for Sang Ly, the power to be able to read and her reading passion taught her about life.

This book is adapted for young readers. A good book for middle grade students. It has a lot of incidents that can be discussed. Such as responsibilities, love , friendship , hard work and many more. The language is simple and easy to understand.

Will definitely read the original version .

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“Words are like ropes.” She finally answers. “We use them to lift ourselves up, but if we are not careful, they can also bind us down when they do, it's usually at our own undoing.”

Sang Ly makes her living at Cambodia's largest waste dump, Stung Meanchey scavenging for recyclables alongside her husband Ki Lim. Life is challenging for them, and on top of that their son, Nisay is chronically ill.

Each month is struggle to make the rent so that they can continue living in what they consider home. So when they are unable to make rent, Sang Ly goes to see Sopeap Sin, the rent collector, she is not really well-liked among the other garbage collectors, but as Sang Lyn finds out no one really knows her.

I couldn’t help but think this was a good take on learning to “love your enemy” because Sang Ly and all who live in Stung Meanchey didn’t like Sopeap Sin, but through circumstances, she begins to learn how to read because Sopeap Sin agrees to teach her. She discovers the world of literature and how reading can alter your worldview. I liked the friendship that emerged from two very different women, and yet are all struggling with something similar: life.

My gratitude to Shadow Mountain and Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

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OK, so first off, I thought this is a real story. But turns out it's inspired by it, the author saw this documentary and wanted to write a book about it, ok. I feel like if this was written by a Cambodian author or someone who's been there it would have given me more peace of mind knowing that it is authentic. But, others say that it is, so I'll take their word. Also, this one is an adaptation from the 'best selling' book for young readers, so I'd say the horrifying stuff is really let down, so good...
I didn't know much about Cambodia, the revolution, or anything really, so I'd say this was very educational as I learned a LOT!
It's a story about Sang Ly, who lives in Stung Meanchey, the largest municipal waste dump in Cambodia with her husband Kim and her baby Nisay. They're very poor and they earn their living by scavaging junk and paying rent for their 'house' to this woman Sopeap Sin. So everyone who lives there knows her as an angry and selfish woman who drinks a lot, but then Sang Ly discovers that she can read... And well the story starts out, as you see how many people there can read, and well Sang Ly is eager to learn. This is a story about hope, love, never giving up, redemption, forgiveness, and learning. I really liked learning about characters' backstories and reading the stories that Sang Ly was reading along. It was very fun and a quick sweet read, that I don't think I will forget about soon.
The only thing that didn't sit well with me to give 5 stars, was the ending (it wasn't satisfactory enough about Sang Ly's story and stuff) and that I find it weird that the author wrote a story using real-life people and made up their stories...
But anyway, I highly recommend this, it's sweet, emotional and a very wonderful story!

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I read an adapted for younger readers version. .Extremely engaging story which I found hard to put down and stop thinking about.. I would recommend for ages 12+. I did find the last few chapters felt a bit rushed and a tad confusing, but that could be from the adaptation. It enhanced some of my understanding about Cambodia and literature.

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This story of Sang Ly, and her husband, and child, is such an inspiring story of a harsh life set in the rubbish dump of Cambodia. There Sang Ly, and her husband must sift through mountains, and mountains of rubbish, to recycle anything that can be sold, to support their family.
Along the way, Sang Ly befriends Sopeap Sin, the rent collector, who teaches her much more about life.
Sang Ly was definitely my favorite character. She had a determined way about her, and let nothing stop her, from finding a better life for her young son Nisay. She is also very kind hearted, and despite having reservations about Sopeap Sin in the beginning, soon becomes her good friend.
This story showed me a side of life, that I could not envision before, but made me realize how lucky I am, to be where I am today. Thank you to the author, and publisher, for allowing me to read this advanced copy.

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Such a heartwrenching book, but at the same time so full of hope. Living on a dump, but they are still alle to love love and laugh. It taught me that i was Rich on the material things. I have electricity i have a home , i have clean water and i have a bed. It also taught me not to judge people on appearance. Get to know the person . I.highly recommend this book. Thank you to netgalley for this e arc in exchange for an honest opinion

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My Thoughts:

This is a devastating and hopeful real life story about a mother who lives in Cambodiaʻs city dump. As she and her husband try to eke out a life, she is also desperate to help her sick baby. Tragedy seems to follow this little family through the whole book but when Sang Ly, the main character, realizes that the mean, drunk rent collector Sopheap knows how to read, Sang Ly takes a huge leap of faith to help her family.

In middle school where sometimes students are so obsessed with their own lives and troubles, this is a gripping book that will keep readers reading. This story has so many twists that it seems like fiction, but the picture of Sang Ly, her husband and baby just makes this story more important. This is a love story to the power of literacy and the power of literature to uplift humanity, no matter where we live. It also is a feel good story about the power of story telling to bring people together.

This is a great non-fiction book for the middle school classroom library.

From the Publisher:
Based on true events. Sang Ly lives at Cambodia's city dump and is grateful she can help earn a living for her family by sifting through the trash for recyclables and things which can be repaired and sold. On a good day, she can earn enough to buy food for her family. She needs enough good days so she can pay the rent collector, Sopeap--a grumpy old woman who shows no mercy and who is willing to evict any tenant who can't pay their rent on time.

When Sang Ly is unable to pay her rent for the month, she fears her family will have to leave the dump and their shanty home--a place where her only possessions can be carried in two hands. Little does she know that a discarded children's book found among the mounds of trash would save her. When Sopeap sees the book lying on Sang Ly's cardboard bed, her mood changes. Sang Ly offers her the book if she is allowed to keep her family at the dump.

An unlikely friendship develops between the two women, and Sang Ly learns that Sopeap knows how to read--something Sang Ly has always wanted to learn. Being able to read could transform Sang Ly's world beyond the predictable confines of the dump and lead to a future with possibilities and hope. But the rent collector has a secret and tragic past, one that will not be easy for Sang Ly to navigate. With the help of her supportive husband, Ki Lim, and a helpful and humorous boy, Lucky Fat, Sang Ly embarks on a life-changing journey to give her young son, Nisay, a better life and future.

The Rent Collector is about the power of literacy, the influence of the past, and finding hope, resiliency, and empowerment in the face of seemingly endless hardship.

Publication date April 5, 2022, Author Camron Wright

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This book is a wonderful adaptation for children! I knew that this story was not always going to be happy. The best stories definitely have their fair share of hardship. Sang Ly definitely struggles, but it's how she overcame and changed during those struggles that I absolutely loved! This story is truly beautiful! I definitely recommend!

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Review from my 9 year old reader...

This book is amazing and I read it in three days every day after school!
Every time I read since I read this I think of Sang Ly because it relates, [which is weird] to many other books in weird ways.
It was an influencing loving story full of twists and turns which is very interesting for my taste.
Sang Ly was an interesting character and she is very courageous.
I would recommend it to other young readers including nine eight and ten years old. Sang Ly is a great and confident woman full of excitement and surprises on every page.
The author is a very tempting author and I would definitely read another one of her books.

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I'm glad I read this book. It is not a light, fluffy fiction story. It is deep and has great meaning that can change the way you look at the world. It will make you think and reevaluate your life and what you see there.

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Powerful, life-changing story

Is there anything dirtier or smellier than a garbage dump? Can you imagine living at the largest garbage dump in Cambodia? This is the difficult circumstance many people are in because it provides them a way to make a living. Life is a daily struggle to find enough salvageable garbage to sell in order to buy a little food and at the same time to survive the many health risks and physical hazards of the dump. Such as spontaneous fires that are difficult to extinguish and leave behind trash that is extremely hot, or bulldozers that push the garbage around and don’t watch out for people.

This story is inspired by real-life Sang Ly who lives at Stung Meanchey, a Cambodian garbage dump, with her husband Ki Lim and 16-month-old son Nisay. Not surprisingly Nisay is very sick, and Sang Ly is desperate to find help for him. None of them have learned to read so a major theme is the importance of reading and stories in our lives. Inserted in the middle of this book is a separate short story about Sarann, similar to Cinderella. Sopeap Sin, also called The Cow or Rent Collector, is a bitter, angry woman who has lived at the dump longer than anyone can remember. She is strict about collecting the rent on time and spends the rest of the month drinking cheap rice wine. The other residents don’t know her background, but the reader learns her story and it is powerful.

I read the original version of The Rent Collector when it was first published and gave it five stars so of course I was interested in reading the story again as an adaptation for young readers. Some content is still inappropriate for younger kids, such as a young girl who was to be sold into slavery, a boy beaten to death for theft, and people shot before your eyes. Overall, this is a positive story that will linger with you long after it is over. It opens the eyes of the reader to what life is like for so many people in other parts of the world and helps you see how much you have that you take for granted. Themes of friendship, the power of words, courage, selflessness, sacrifice, survival, and hope. I highly recommend it. Thanks to Shadow Mountain Publishing for an ARC to use for my review.

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This book was fabulous. I've read the original of this book, and this version gets all the emotion and experience at Cambodia's dump without the graphic scenes that would make it inappropriate for a younger audience. I am a huge fan of kids understanding life outside their normal realm and this definitely supports that aim. I was curious and researched to find that this is still happening in Phnom Penh today.

Sang Ly lives at the dump with her husband and son. They live day-to-day with what they can pick and sell at the dump. But it is dangerous, smelly work. On top of it, Sang Ly's son is very ill and medicine is not cheap. When an unlikely friendship happens with the grumpy Rent Collector, the joy of words and books become the escape many at the dump need to keep living.

Again- I am so excited about this version of the story and cannot wait to share it with my children. I feel I could have my middle school kids and older read this, with the understanding that they should come ask me any questions they might have.

Thanks to NetGalley and Shadow Mountain for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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Thank you netgalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
While I thought this was a moving and provocative story I don't think it would be appropriate for middle school children. It depicts many of the hardships people from Cambodia face but learning to read provides this family with a sense of hope and purpose.

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Living in Cambodia lots of this story rang true. I do wonder about the lack of own voices perspective however. These kinds of stories need to be shared.

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Sang Ly and her husband Ki Lim live in the largest dump of Cambodia. They have a child called Nisay that is I’ll most of the time. The name of the dump is Stung Meanchey. They live in a home they made and yet must pay rent. When the rent collector, Sopeap Sin come to collect the rent, they can’t pay as they don’t have enough money. Sang Li and Ki Lim go through the dump looking for recyclables and things that can be repaired. Sang Ly discovers a secret of Sopeap. Sopeap ends up teaching Sang Li to read. Sang Li wants to teach her son to read so he can have a better life. Nisay’s illness causes the Sang Li to travel to get Nisay well. At the same time Sopeap disappears. When she comes back, she goes and find Sopeap Sin to learn why the mysterious disappearance and also to learn of her past.

The novel has a mixture of hope and at the same time, there is the unhappiness of the dump — prostitution, illness and the gangs throughout the story. It reminds one never to give up. It is compelling and engaging. It is a story I won’t forget.

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If you enjoyed Trash, then give this a go. While no year is expressly mentioned, it is humbling to appreciate the livelihoods described in the (living near and off of rubbish dumps) is a reality for many people around the world; an honest and eye-opening narrative based on real events.

There is so much missing in the lives of the characters, making the value placed upon the written word all the more poignant. Full of wisdom and compassion.

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I got this book for my daughter (age 13) to read. She was immediately sucked into the story. She couldn’t believe there were people who have to suffer that much and live in such sad conditions.
If you want a book that will tastefully give your child a taste of how some people in 3rd world counties live then pick up this book.
I will be reading it next at her request.

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Oh, this is such a wonderfully written book! This book is catered to young readers so the story is very engaging. I even teared up towards the end and this is definitely a story that will stay with me for a long time.

This story follows Sang Ly and her family who are living in one of Cambodia’s largest city dump, Stung Meanchey. Most of them earn their living by sifting through the rubbish for recyclables and other items that can be repaired and sold. Sang Ly makes do with what she has and make sure she has enough money to pay the Rent Collector, Sopeap. She is an older woman who goes around collecting rent but she isn’t the most likeable character until one day, Sang Ly discovered a secret of Sopeap’s. The two became unlikely friends when Sopeap agreed to teach Sang Ly how to read. What started out as a learning journey for Sang Ly turns out to be so much more as Sopeap slowly opens up to Sang Ly.

Sang Ly wanted to learn how to read so she can provide a better life for her son, so she can teach him how to read too. Sang Ly’s unwavering love as a mother is so strong and heart-warming to read. She believes that being able to read could provide a better future for her son and possibly move out of the dump. What she didn’t anticipate is the blossoming friendship between her and Sopeap. Sopeap has been hiding her tragic past by drowning herself in alcohol and not caring about other people but seeing Sang Ly’s motivation for learning helps her unknot the sadness in her heart. I also love the stories they read together and how Sang Ly learnt to decipher the meaning of each story. It was so delightful to see how Sang Ly's reading journey grew.

This story is filled with courage, hope and resilience. Despite the endless hardship, there is also kindness, love and possibilities for a better future. Highly, highly recommend!

Thank you Netgalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for the arc.

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