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When My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park

When My Name Was Keoko (original 2002; edition 2003)

by Linda Sue Park, Norm Lee (Narrator), Jenny Ikeda (Narrator)

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78115411,802 (4.04)8
Title:When My Name Was Keoko
Authors:Linda Sue Park
Other authors:Norm Lee (Narrator), Jenny Ikeda (Narrator)
Info:Recorded Books (2003), Edition: Unabridged, Audio Cassette
Collections:5th-6th Grade Readers, 3rd-4th Grade Readers, Multicultural Books, International Books, Historical Fiction, Chapter Books, Your library, Read but unowned
Tags:Japanese, Korea, WWII, family

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


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I did not enjoy reading When My Name was Keoko. This chapter book is historical fiction, which is a genre that bores me because I usually cannot relate to the content. I did not like the pace of the book. There are chapters that cover a single day, and other chapters that summarize several months. The book itself covers 5 years, without a consistently paced timeline, which made it very hard to follow for me. Especially since the two main characters were coming of age during the book, I had a hard time telling how old they really were without stopping to do the math. Another thing that I did not like about this book was the formatting of the text. Generally, in a chapter book, each new chapter starts a new page. However, in this book each new chapter (point of view switch) started just below where the last chapter ended. This made it difficult for me to find natural stopping points. The "big idea" of this book is to respect your culture. ( )
  AlliyGaither | Oct 3, 2016 |
It took me some time to really get into this book and actually enjoy it. At first I found it to be not the most interesting book, but after reading some more I thought it was an okay read. I liked how the book switched from Keoko's point of view to her brothers point of view. I also liked how many of the Korean characters showed bravery for themselves and for their culture. Overall the big idea of this book was to discuss the time period when Japan had rule of Korea and the war the Japanese took place in. ( )
  Kirstenwenzel | Oct 3, 2016 |
I enjoyed reading this book for its different point of view. Every other chapter flipped between Keoko and her brother Tae-yul telling the story to show different perspectives in Korea during WWII since Keoko stays home in Korea trying to preserve their culture meanwhile Tae-yul goes to fight for the Japanese. The different perspectives also show the gender equality issue in Korea during this time period. Woman are meant to be “seen not heard” which shows how suppressed they were during this time period. I also enjoyed the genre of this book, historical fiction. I learned a lot about the Japanese invasion of Korea and all the aspects that went along with the war. In history books this usually isn’t spoken of. It was interesting to learn that the Koreans were stripped of their nationalism, culture, names, identity, etc. Taking a Holocaust and genocide class in high school, I knew a lot about WWII in relation to Germany but never knew about anything from the Korean point of view. The main idea of the book is to show readers what the harsh conditions the Koreans endured during WWII and what they did to keep their pride in hopes of freedom, and also how it’s important to keep family close. ( )
  charlotteduncan | Oct 3, 2016 |
This chapter book was riveting. I liked the way the author used point of view. Keoko and Tae-yul showed different aspects of Koran life. Early in the book, Keoko mentions she is to be seen not heard, which provides how women were supposed to act in Korean culture. Switching point of view provided multiple view on the war itself. Tae-yul eventually went to fight for the Japanese; whereas, Keoko firmly kept her Korean culture. The next aspect I enjoyed about the book was the genre of historical fiction. I learned that Japan invaded Korea. That was something I had not known about WWII. I also liked that Keoko kept a diary, which was a symbol of the freedom she craved, “You burn the paper, but not the words. You silence the words, but not the thoughts. You kill the thoughts only if you kill the man. And you will find that his thoughts rise again in the minds of others - twice as strong as before.” This has become one of my favorite quotes in a novel. The message of this book was that even though people are oppressed they are still human and have valuable thoughts and feelings even if no one wants to acknowledge that fact. ( )
  KoraRea | Sep 30, 2016 |
A good book, I really liked how it was written, and the perspective it took. ( )
  Shadow494 | Jun 20, 2016 |
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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.)
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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.

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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