2024-0429_PaulaYoo-043A5094v2 copy

Rising from the Ashes is a compelling, nuanced account of the complex conflict and its impact on L.A.’s Black and Korean American communities. (Photo of author on April 29, 2024 standing outside the same shopping mall on 6th & Western in Los Angeles’ Koreatown from 32 years ago featured on the book cover by Hyungwon Kang.)

By Paula Yoo
On sale May 7, 2024 | 978-1-324-03090-9
Ages 12+ | Hardcover YA Nonfiction | $19.99

On April 29, 1992, following the acquittal of four police officers charged with the beating and arrest of Rodney King and the earlier killing of teenager Latasha Harlins, the city of Los Angeles erupted in violence. RISING FROM THE ASHES, a new YA nonfiction book coming May 7, 2024, traces the uprising from the longstanding mistrust between LA’s communities to its reverberations throughout the city.

Based on more than 100 original interviews, thorough researcher Paula Yoo unfolds the events of spring 1992 through the experiences of the families of King, Harlins, shooting victim Edward Jae Song Lee, and dozens of business owners, journalists, police officers, firefighters, activists, and other community members. Many of the uprising’s events centered on the city’s Koreatown, where tensions between the Black and Korean American communities had simmered for years, fueled by economic challenges and redlining and enflamed by sensationalized and racist media.

Deeply researched and compulsively readable, this is a vivid, propulsive, and moving story of a pivotal moment in recent American history that continues to resonate today. The narrative is brought to life by Yoo, who was the winner of the 2021 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for Nonfiction, longlisted for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, a finalist for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Young Adult Nonfiction, and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Young Adult Literature.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paula Yoo is a prolific TV writer/producer, freelance violinist, and author of several books for children, including her award-winning debut YA nonfiction book, From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry. She lives in Los Angeles, California.


★ “Yoo vividly and movingly conveys the broader historical context and the many lives that were affected, shedding light on systemic challenges that continue today. A nuanced and necessary narrative.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

★ “Yoo offers a grim and well-researched account of an event that teen readers may have heard of, but likely do not know about with any detail… Dozens of interviews and quotes are seamlessly integrated to make a flowing and compelling narrative.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review

★ “A comprehensive, kaleidoscopic account… Using extensive research and original reporting, Yoo creates deeply humanizing portraits of King; Harlins; Edward Jae Song Lee, a young man killed trying to protect a pizza parlor; and their families.… A powerful and compelling history book that shows how the past still affects the present.” —Horn Book Magazine, starred review

★ “Yoo’s message of empathy, progress, and resilience following tragedy prove resonant in this moving account that remains relevant to contemporary society, in which smartphones have replaced camcorders in individuals’ quest to expose police brutality and systemic racism.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Sadly, this topic still resonates strongly today, making this new nonfiction read both relevant and riveting. The information is well researched and movingly presented, using historical context to shed light on issues that fired uprisings then and continue to do so today.” —We Are Teachers

“Tells the whole stories of Edward Jae Song Lee, Latasha Harlins, and Rodney King, who were each victims of racial profiling, police brutality, and a criminalized landscape that left them behind. Yoo outlines every detail, painting as clear of a picture as possible, and includes multiple perspectives and explanations of topics like redlining, policing, and legal matters to provide context to young readers…. By humanizing every person mentioned, Yoo rationalizes the American dream in the eyes of Korean immigrants and the ways in which their communities clashed with those disadvantaged and already in the U.S.” —Booklist