Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

When My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park

When My Name Was Keoko (2002)

by Linda Sue Park

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
71313913,224 (4.03)8
Recently added byelephantine, IvanFaute, jcocca, yuisme, WrenGoblirsch, emilyauer, Amy_Ko, LBurro2, private library, callosum

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 8 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 139 (next | show all)
This book really makes you think about what would happen if your identity was taken from you. I found it to be very moving and eye-opening!
  emilyauer | Nov 17, 2015 |
Through this book, Linda Park tells a tale of the unity, faith, and love shared within a Korean family under Japanese control during World War Two. Keoko, or Sun-hee, and Nobuo, or Tae-yul’s uncle could not stand to simply watch the Japanese take control of his beloved country and joins the Resistance. Due to the increased pressure on their family, Tae-yul, the family’s first born and only son, joins the imperial army, Korea’s enemy at the time, to lift the family’s burdens cast by the Japanese. His family continues to believe in their son/brother, despite his actions, which is evident throughout the story. For instance, when analyzing her brother’s letter, Keoko thinks, “And I was sure that the last paragraph contained his thoughts clear and undisguised. Including the way he’d signed it, without using his name. For he’d have had to use his Japanese name – Kaneyama Nobuo, instead of Kim Tae-yul.” The tale also teaches readers to find their identity in their heritage and be proud of their culture, a heartfelt encouragement for many foreigners around the world. By portraying a family that is so passionate about their history, traditions, language, and culture, Linda Sue Park encourages her readers all over the world to accept their ethnic roots and take pride in their history and identity. ( )
  Amy_Ko | Nov 11, 2015 |
When My Name was Keoko Historical Fiction
By Linda Sue Park

“When My Name was Keoko” is a historical fiction children’s chapter book that takes place when the Japanese took over Korea during World War II. In Korea the Japanese forbid citizens to fly their flag and even force them to take Japanese names. Park tells the story of a family who struggles during the war. The Kim Family includes a ten-year-old daughter name Sun-hee and a thirteen-year-old son named Tae-yul. Throughout “When My Name was Keoko”, Park switches back and forth between Sun-hee and Tae-yul narrating their perspective of the story. For example, in one chapter if Sun-hee is asking a lot of questions she may say that she is curious even though it is not her business because she is not a man in the house. In the next chapter, Tae-yul may complain that Sun-hee asks too many questions that do not concern her because she is a girl. I think this was a good method to attempt to keep readers attention without confusing them too much. Despite the two narrators, I still found “When My Name was Keoko” to be a slow paced book overall and found it difficult to sit down and read for a long sitting. I thought the best part was when Tae-yul enlists to save his uncle. This is incredibly brave of such a young teenage boy. This really exemplifies the bond Korean families have and courage of the Koreans during the war. Overall, I am giving “When My Name was Keoko” 3 stars because I thought it was a slow read and somewhat difficult to connect to the characters. On the other hand. “When My Name Was Keoko” taught about the freedom of speech, Korean culture and families, and times during World War II. Despite being oppressed, Uncle still fought for his freedom of speech, Tae-yul made a great sacrifice for his uncle, and Keoko struggled watching her family struggle though dangerous wartimes. ( )
  LBurro2 | Nov 3, 2015 |
Monti C. Katrib
EDUC 417.006
Reading Log #11
When My Name Was Keoko
Written by: Linda Sue Park
Published by: HMH Books for Young Readers (2012)
I liked this book for a couple reasons. First and foremost this book was extremely informational and presented insight into a time of war and oppression in Asia, during World War II. The language in this is kind of slow and can be a little boring at some parts, but I think it is appropriate for the themes in this story many of which are very serious. I really like how in the book the perspective switches back and forth from Sun-hee to Tae-yul, it lets the readers see the war from two very different perspectives within the same family. Tae-yul joins the Japanese army to protect his family, and Sun-hee (Keoko) struggles with her identity throughout the book. Due to the sometimes heavy themes of this book, I think the appropriate age for readers with regard to this book would be 5th grade and up. I learned a lot from this book that I did not know about Korea or Japan at this time in history. I think there are a lot of lessons about tradition, pride, love, family, and identify that people can take from this book. ( )
  mkatri1 | Oct 16, 2015 |
I was not very fond of Linda Sue Park's "When my Name was Keoko." I thought that the action was very slow and it took a long time for the book to become interesting. I also felt it difficult to relate to the characters, which I believe is at least partly due to the fact that there is a fairly large cultural barrier between the characters and me. Several times throughout the book, I had difficulty determining the family dynamics and the roles that each character played in relation to one another. Coming from a household where men and women are viewed as equals and differences of opinion are valued, I found the strict gender and familial roles to be startling. I could not connect to the fact that Sun-hee could not ask her father questions, or that Uncle had to obey Abuji simply because Abuji was the older brother and therefore had authority. I think that, were I more familiar with Korean family structure, I would have connected more with the characters. I did not dislike the main characters, Sun-hee and Tae-yul, by any means, but I did not find them relatable either. Another thing I disliked about the book was that the different names of the characters was very confusing for me and made it difficult to follow what was happening. In a way, though, this confusion is something that I also liked about the book. I think that the consistently changing names when referring to characters served to illustrate just how confusing and difficult the Japanese occupation felt to the Koreans during World War II. As a reader, I was able to understand the feeling of confusion and frustration, but on a much smaller scale. I think that this intentionally confusing the reader, if indeed it was intentional, was a fantastic literary device. Nevertheless, it made reading the book to be a frustrating experience. I think that the "big message" of this novel is to help modern audiences to relate emotionally to Koreans who were affected by the Japanese occupation of Korea. I would give this book two stars because, while I could begin understand just how confusing it must have been for everyone to have to change their names overnight and adapt to the many sudden changes imposed by the Japanese government, I did not find the book to be a pleasurable read and I did not find it easy to relate to the characters. ( )
  lhirsc2 | Oct 12, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 139 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

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.

» see all 3 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 avail.
15 wanted
2 pay

Popular covers


Average: (4.03)
1 5
2 12
3 26
3.5 16
4 79
4.5 9
5 75

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 100,955,934 books! | Top bar: Always visible