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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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6227915,644 (4.12)8
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Summary & Review:
When My Name Was Keoko brings readers back to the 1940s. The two main characters of the story are Korean and must hide their customs and traditions due to their practice being against the law. The children speak of stories and customs of the Korean culture traditions. The family is ripped apart as they are battling the struggles of living during wartime. Advanced literacy language makes this book great for critical readers of a higher reading level. Children will pick up on many underlying messages and learn what their impact has had on the children in the story. ( )
  acahil3 | Dec 10, 2014 |
I had mixed feelings about this book When my name is Keoko by Linda Sue Park. I felt as if the story progressed slowly, but the story itself was interesting. I really liked this books writing style. The story was told by the main character Sun-hee and her brother Tae-yul. Each chapter is written back and forth between Sun-hee and her brother Tae-yul. This gave more depth to the story seeing it from two different perspectives. I also liked how the story provided a different insight on the history of World War II. The story started in 1940 and as it progressed the time period slowly changing, giving the book a realistic feeling that the reader was living through that historical time period and experiencing what life was like. The characters were very realistic, expressed strong emotion and were well- developed. When Keoko and her family had to change names under the Japanese ruling, Keoko and her family were very devastated knowing they had to take on a completely new identity, that of the Japanese culture. The characters being so realistic allowed the reader to feel a sense of connection and emotional attachment to their character, so I felt great emotion for Keoko and her family through there trials and tribulations. I feel as though the main idea of this story is to inform. Not so much in a technical way, but to allow a window in to a perspective of someone’s life during World War II. ( )
  EmmaBrockwell | Dec 8, 2014 |
Very eye-opening and makes you think about identity and what it would be like if it were taken away.
  Madison_DeWeerdt | Dec 4, 2014 |
When My Name Was Keoko is a great way for younger boys and girls to gain the perspective of children from an oppressed society. Told from the point of view of two young children in a Japanese-occupied Korea, they are told what seem like fairy tales from a time when they weren't occupied. They all make sacrifices and try to hide their heritage, but the biggest sacrifice of all, the one meant to protect their family, may rip them apart. ( )
  jmitra1 | Dec 3, 2014 |
This book provides the two points of view of a brother and sister who lived in Korea when Japan took control. The struggle to keep with Korean culture and honoring Korean heritage was great for this family, but they did the best they could to keep their background alive. They did not want their past and everything they held dear about their heritage to go away just because their country and names were being taken. The Japanese were portrayed as tyrants who only wanted to enforce what they held close to them. For instance, they gave all of the people rubber balls, but took away their bicycles. It was viewed as a happy thing that they gave everyone balls, but Sun-hee's brother only remembers how they took his bike. The big picture of this book is keeping composure in though times and holding a respect for your past. This books displays how a family can stick together and hold true to themselves even in this type of environment. ( )
  ajfurman | Dec 3, 2014 |
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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.
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:48:36 -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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