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When My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park
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When My Name Was Keoko (2002)

by Linda Sue Park

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80716611,302 (4.04)8
Recently added byfungrit, mcmlsbookbutler, hpetti1, KMG2002, jserin2, sryoo1, private library
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Sun-hee and her brother Tae-yul live in Korea under Japanese occupation. Forced to suppress their Korean heritage, they adopt the names Keoko and Nobuo. When the World War II begins, Tae-yul enlists in the Japanese army to protect their family, while Sun-hee stays home to guard their family secrets.
  mcmlsbookbutler | Mar 10, 2017 |
I partially enjoyed this book. I found this story to be very intimate and personal. I enjoyed how this story was a look into the life of a displaced family during the Vietnam War. The imagery expressed within the text was very vivid and painted a clear picture within my mind. I especially enjoyed when the main character, Keoko, described the difference in the taste of the chicken that she was eating at the cowboys house, compared to what she was used to eating. I enjoyed how this book showed how, most, refugees feel when they come to a new country, afraid and insecure of their surroundings. I also liked how this book showed that no matter where you live in the world, you are likely to encounter stereotypes wherever you may go. The main point I am referencing, is when Keoko tells how she is excited to live with this cowboy, who must surely have a horse. I did not enjoy the style or the organization of this book. I found it dull to read the pages of a diary. I think if this book was styled in a more traditional fashion that I would have enjoyed it a little bit more than I did. ( )
  KMG2002 | Mar 5, 2017 |
The main message I got from the book is to be proud of your culture and heritage, even when others try to erase who you are. Two things I liked about the story had everything to do with who the narrators were. I've never been a huge fan of alternating narrators, because it makes it harder for me to follow the story. That being said, the book made a smart move in having two narrators. By having both a male and a female's voice, the reader can get a good grasp on how gender affected one's experiences during the Japanese occupation. It's good for children to get different perspectives to get a better understanding of the era by getting different points of view. The second thing I like about the narrators is the choice to pick children to be narrators. The students reading the book might have a harder time with an older character, because of how children and adults see the world differently. A younger student may not be able to find similarities between themselves and the adult. For instance, both Tae-Yul and Sun-Hee are in school, and the book focuses on their experience being in school. A student may be able to connect with Tae-Yul not being the best in his class, or Sun-Hee bein the best in her class. ( )
  jserin2 | Mar 3, 2017 |
This is a good book that exposes students to the effects of the Japanese invasions in Korea. The perspective of the forced Japanese assimilation and Japanese pursuit of extincting Korean culture and land through SunHee and TaeYul were very powerful voices that added to my knowledge of the situation as an entirety. The first person point of view itself made it simpler to follow through and the plot was engaging on a personal level. The writing was easy because it was written in the eyes of teenagers which is something I could relate to as far as the emotions that come with some of the events that happened to the children. For example, when TaeYul's bike got stolen and SunHee's notebook was burned, I felt the anger and resentment towards the Japanese authority. Moreover, the sentences were mostly short and I felt like the characters were talking to me which pulled the story along and made it easy to follow. For example, "My father wasn't talking to me of course." The sentence is short and simple. Furthermore, it may have been easier for me to relate to the characters because I am Korean. Because there is a bias to how I read the book as a Korean, it made it simple for me to understand and it was more a reality to me than non-Korean readers. The words such as "abuji" and "omoni" were also made it fun for me to read because I can hear how the characters spoke in Korean in my head. Lastly, SunHee and TaeYul's voices of their situation was very insightful because I got to sense what they were going through. Both were angered by the war itself but both knew that their situation was unchangeable. Both had to cope to the forced culture upon them. The people but also the physical land of Korea also had to bear with the changes. The depletion of Korean resources was also shocking and disappointing because there is a lot of species of plants that could have been salvaged. Overall, the first person point of view, the voices of the children, and the personal connection I had with the book all represented the lives of a family, community, and country during the Japanese invasion of Korea. ( )
  sryoo1 | Feb 22, 2017 |
It was sad. It talked about how when there's war it dictates your life. You don't make decisions for yourself anymore. You do what your told because your life is @ stake. ( )
  Brinlie.Jill.Searle | Nov 22, 2016 |
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Epigraph
Dedication
To my children: Sean and Anna

and for my parents:
Eung Won/Nobuo/Ed
Joung Sook/Keoko/Susie
First words
"It's only a rumor," Abuji said as I cleared the table.
Quotations
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0440419441, Paperback)

Inspired by her own family's stories of living in South Korea during the Japanese occupation in the years preceding World War II, Newbery Medal-winning author Linda Sue Park chronicles the compelling story of two siblings, 10-year-old Sun-hee and 13-year-old Tae-yul, and their battle to maintain their identity and dignity during one of Korea's most difficult and turbulent times. In alternating first-person chapters, they relate their family's troubles under the strict fascist regime. The Kim family is stripped of their cultural symbols, only permitted to learn Japanese history and language, and forced to convert their names to Japanese. Sun-hee, now Keoko, struggles to reconcile her Korean home life with her Japanese school and friends, while Tae-yul, now Nobuo, attempts to convert his growing anger into a more positive passion for flight and airplanes. Both are worried for their uncle, whom they discover is printing an underground Korean resistance paper. When Sun-hee inadvertently puts her uncle's life in danger, she sets in motion a chain of events that results in her brother volunteering as a pilot for the Japanese near the end of WWII. While Sun-hee and her parents wait in breathless uncertainty to hear from Tae-yul, the war rushes to a close, leaving Korea's destiny hanging in the balance. This well-researched historical novel is accompanied by a thoughtful author's note that explains what happened to Korea and families like the Kims after WWII and a bibliography to entice interested young readers into learning more about a topic largely unknown to American audiences. (Ages 10 to 14) --Jennifer Hubert

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:36 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

With national pride and occasional fear, a brother and sister face the increasingly oppressive occupation of Korea by Japan during World War II, which threatens to suppress Korean culture entirely.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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