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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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6459714,998 ()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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In my opinion this is a great read for students to read to learn about the conflict in Asia during the time of World War II. The author Linda Sue Park helps paint of picture of the pain that the Korean people had to go through when their country was taken over by the Japanese. I really enjoyed the structure of the book and how there weren't chapters but different narrators from Sun-hee, a young girl and her older brother Tae-yul. I think this book had a great contrast between the two different Asian cultures, Japanese and Korean. I would recommend this book to be read after teaching about World War Two and how it effected other countries besides European countries and the United States. I think this book teachers the read a lot about how important a person's culture is to them and how when you change your culture you change who you are. ( )
  jherrm1 | Feb 23, 2015 |
I really enjoyed this book for a few reasons. I felt the author did a fantastic job shaping the main characters into round ones with so much detail. As a reader, I felt that I knew Tae-yul and Sun-hee personally. I also appreciated the timing, how the author told the story over many years regarding what life was like in the war, it seemed very accurate but astonishing at the same time. It was very fun as a reader to get to know the characters and read how their views and actions changed over the course of the text, I felt I was watching these young people grow up! I found it very interesting to read about the differences of living in Korean cultures as opposed to Japanese cultures, this book provided me with the information I lacked about these completely separate cultures, what an eye opener. My only flaw with this text was that I had a hard time getting into it at first, and at the beginning I was thrown off by the author's choice to write from different perspectives. I would definitely reccommend this book to a friend but I would inform them about the different perspective writing so that they would not go through the same struggle I did.
  mtrail3 | Feb 23, 2015 |
In my opinion this is a great book. The language in this novel is very descriptive. I was able to actually picture myself in the shoes of Sun-Hee or Tae-Yul. When Sun-Hee was describing what school has transformed into, the way the Japanese soliders would take everything from them, I felt her pain. When Tae-Yul explained his thinking process about the reasons as to why he joined the Imperial Army, I felt what he was feeling. He was courageous as the novel had represented through the descriptive language.

The point of view was very different than other novels I have read in the past. This novel consisted of two first person point of views. It was told from Sun-Hee the younger sister, and Tae-Yul, the older brother's point of views. At first it was very confusing when switching from character to character. Then as a reader, I became so engaged with the story. It was very interesting to see it from a male and female side throughout this war. The older brother had a lot of responsibility in the family, while the younger sister had to do chores around the house.

This book absolutely pushes a reader to think about tough issues. From my knowledge about this war, I personally did not fully understand the amount that the Japanese took from Korea. The Japanese took everything possible. They looked down on Koreans. It was informational to read about the hardships that many of them went through. Then to further read how they treated the Korean's in war was very difficult to read. They talked about them like they were not even present at times. The moral of this story was just that, to spread the knowledge of the fight that Korea had to put up with while the war was going on with the Japanese. Overall, this novel is a great read with wonderful historical background from not too long ago. I would recommend this book to many. ( )
  ndange1 | Feb 23, 2015 |
I had mixed feelings about this book after reading it. I liked the book because it gives the reader insight of what World War II was like through a child's eyes. It also shows a perspective of the war from the "enemy's" eyes, at least to Americans, and how they dealt with their own form of prejudice. I thought this book was extremely eye opening as I did not know how oppressed Koreans were throughout the war. It was nice to see their perspective as I have only really seen the American and German perspective on World War II. I didn't enjoy the book as it was a slow story to get into. Although it was extremely informative and powerful, I did not find it to be an easy read. It took me a great deal of time to get into the story. I thought that the characters were strong but that the book could have used possibly more dialogue in order to make it more intriguing. I felt deeply for each character but I wish I got to know more about the individuals. I did enjoy how the point of view switched back and forth from the two children in the book. This way the young readers can see what the war was like from both a young boy and young girls point of view. This book exemplifies the strength and courage young people had during a time of great loss and struggle. ( )
  kabdo1 | Feb 22, 2015 |
The message of the story is to always remember your roots, or ancestry, and to have courage when fighting to keep your culture. In my opinion this is a great book. I really enjoyed the character development. For example, Tae-yul, the older brother of Sun-hee, first appeared as an innocent 13 year old boy, by going to school every day and obeying his father, but he gradually changed into a young man when he was educated by his Uncle about World War Two and later became a soldier in the Imperial Army. Also, the plot was well paced and the tension built near the end of the book, which wanted me to read more. I couldn’t put down the book when Tae-yul was volunteering for the Imperial Army and Sun-hee was trying to figure out what she could do to stop him. Lastly, I liked how the author changed point-of-view from Sun-hee to Tae-yul each chapter. For example, there would be a scene where Sun-hee is cleaning the dinner table and eavesdropping, but the chapter ends and switches the Tae-yul. Tae-yul would continue with the scene, but would be doing something else, like listening to his father and uncle talk about what is going on in the town. Changing point-of-view gives the reader insight on what it would like to be as a young girl or boy during a war and how their perspectives on life change. ( )
  moaks1 | Feb 22, 2015 |
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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 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.

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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