Across the Mekong River

The dangerous journey of one Hmong family, fleeing war and persecution in Laos across the Mekong River to the refugee camps in Thailand and eventually a new life in the United States. More

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About Elaine Russell

Elaine Russell's newest novel Montana in A Minor is a contemporary young adult romance. Kirkus Reviews says "In this excellent YA novel, Russell's teenage cellist heroine Emily Lopez uses music as her framework for dealing with the world...Russell does a fantastic job creating Emily's world, and the young girl's voice is charming and plausible right from the start...Well written and engaging YA." The book won an award from the annual Friends of the Sacramento Library writing contest in 2010.

Elaine's adult novel Across the Mekong River won four 2013 independent publisher book awards for multicultural fiction: Winner Next Generation Book Award, Silver ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award, Bronze Independent Publishers Book Award, and Bronze Readers' Favorite Book Award. She became inspired and actively involved with the Hmong immigrant community after meeting Hmong children in her son's school in Sacramento and reading Anne Fadiman's The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. Since then, she has visited Laos many times to research her first adult novel, Across the Mekong River, and as a member of the nonprofit organization Legacies of War. She has written and lectured extensively on the history of the civil war in Laos, which resulted in the mass exodous of Hmong and other Laotian refugees, many of whom immigrated to the United States. Before publication, Across the Mekong River was a finalist in the Carolina Wren Press 2010 Doris Bakwin Award for adult novels, the Maui Writer's Conference 2003 Rupert Hughes Prose Writing Competition, and the Focus on Writers 2001 Friends of the Sacramento Library Awards.

Her other books include the Martin McMillan middle-grade adventure series: The Lost Inca City and The Secret of the Ruby Elephant, which also won four 2013 indie book awards, including winner of the Indie Reader award for juvenile fiction.

Elaine graduated with a BA in History at University of California, Davis, and an MA in Economics at California State University Sacramento. She worked as a Resource Economist/Environmental Consultant for many years, before turning to writing fiction for adults and children.

For more information on Elaine Russell, visit

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