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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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80016311,442 (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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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 |
I really enjoyed When My Name Was Keoko. This book had a very interesting plot and was really eye opening. The language in this book was very descriptive and gave a good depiction of what times were like during World War 2. I think the book did a good job at showing all the details/ specific hard times they went through. This book was told from a first person point of view which I find to be crucial for a story like this or else it starts to be more factual and you loose the emotion. It was told by 2 different narrators, alternating chapters. I really enjoyed this book and feel that the main message was just to show how hard times were and that you can over come it. ( )
  gcarat1 | Nov 14, 2016 |
I had mixed feelings about this book after reading it. I liked this book because of the point of view. The story is told from two siblings point of view. This is interesting because the siblings are very opposite of each other so you are able to see how different people feel about the same topics. For example, Sun-hee was very enthused to learn the Korean alphabet while her brother did not want to at all. However, I did not like that the story has a slow start. Historical fiction books are often times hard for me to get into so the slow start to this story made it hard for me to focus. The story spent a while talking about their daily lives heading up to when the concerns about Sun-hee’s uncle began. I feel that the author should have jumped to more of the action sooner to keep readers intrigued. The main message of the story is about perseverance; the family had to overcome many obstacles in order to live their normal lives again. It also deals with culture and being proud of who you are. ( )
  sbiela1 | Oct 24, 2016 |
`This book is well written and keeps the readers interested. The author does a great job of making it seem real. The books setting is placed during World War II when the Koreans and Japanese were not getting along. Japan was trying to over take Korea. The theme of this book was that Courage gets things done when they need to get done. There is an example of this on page 35 when Sun-hee says "Janpanese names are normally shorter, Korean names are normally longer... I could see someones name being Keoko but not mine." The Koreans point of view is present in this book and it seems they had to give up a lot. This book has a very show start but towards the middle keeps you wanting more. ( )
  pwood3 | Oct 24, 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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