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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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6157415,832 (4.11)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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Showing 1-5 of 74 (next | show all)
There are numerous reasons why I liked this book. First of all, I should say I liked this book more along the lines of it's elements, history, writing style, and overall reasons that helped establish my own opinions about this book. What I can't say I like this book because of is it's personal connections in relation to my own life. I was not alive in that time period when Keoko and Tae-yul lived, nor was I ever in the country of Korea. Yet somehow this book seemed to have me in a trance while reading it, that kept me in an ongoing suspense.

I liked how the point of view switched of within this book between Keoko and Tae-yul. I thought the dual perspectives was key to keeping me intrigued while reading. It was clear not convoluted, also, because after Keoko spoke, Tae-yul jumped in on the same subject, it wasn't so cut and dry. The flow was static throughout the whole book, which in my opinion is a plus.

I have no relation to the time when Korea was occupied by Japan, yet you would think that I would lose interest in the book after a while. However it was quite the contrary of that. The suspense and tension was always rising. From Uncle working for the resistance, to Tae-yul joining Japanese forces, to Keoko and her brothers secret language pattern, there was not a moment in the plot that I took as a bore.

The book also pushes readers to think about tough issues, and think about the world in a different perspective. It allows for questions like: "how would I feel in that situation", or what if my identity was taken away from me, what would I struggle with?"

The central message of this book can be looked at from different angles, in my opinion. It can take the multicultural view and portray that identity can define a human being, and that being taken away from you can alter your life drastically. Or the message can be that family is of the upmost importance. However I do feel that the main idea Linda Sue Park is trying to put out there is the one about family.

Overall, "When my name was Keoko" was a great read, and I would love to share it in my future classroom! It is educational, intriguing, and suspenseful, all in one, and that makes one valuable book after all! ( )
  Skaide1 | Oct 20, 2014 |
I really enjoyed reading this book. I had only gotten a few pages into the book when I had to think about my own knowledge of Korea. I had no idea that Korea had been occupied Japan in the early 20th century. So already a few pages into the book I was learning something new.

I really liked the way that the author shows the reality that some people went through during this time. They had their culture practically stamped out by a stronger country. In the midst of all of these big events happening in the book, the author shows that the little things do matter, like the written word. Even though it was illegal to speak and write in Korean, many people did anyways.

I also really liked the alternate narrators, even though at the beginning I didn't really notice the different narrators. I thought that it was just chapter breaks. But once I got used to the different narrators I really came to like the two characters.

Overall, I really liked this book for many different reasons. One big reason was the different themes that were presented in the book. The big idea in this book was the hardships that the Koreans faced. By reading this book I learned a lot about a time in Korean culture that I had no idea even happened.

One theme in the book was that courage is something that is needed to accomplish something. I do agree with this theme and I felt that the writer did a good job of showing this to the reader. I also really liked how the written word is really important in this book. I agree that if something is written well it could affect many people. ( )
  sreinh2 | Oct 20, 2014 |
I enjoyed the book, When My Name Was Keoko, by Linda Sue Park. The big idea in this story was the hardships that the Koreans faced during the start of World War 2. I liked the way the author took the reader through the sequence of events from the Koreans giving up their names and customs through the Koreans gaining back their freedom. Keoko was actually the Japanese name that was chosen when the Emperor decided that the Koreans would not practice their traditions or use Korean names. Keoko’s name was Sun-hee. I also liked the way that the author brought back to the symbolism of the Rose of Sharon tree. The tree was planted in the beginning of the story, but being a traditional Korean tree, the Japanese announced that it must be destroyed. The tree was hidden and replanted at the end of the story, symbolizing the freedom and traditions that were put back in place for the Koreans. ( )
  JenniferEckley | Oct 14, 2014 |
It is 1941 and the Japan has occuppied the Korean peninsula for the past 30 years. Sun-hee and her older brother Tae-yul struggle to uphold their Korean heritage, while appeasing their Japanese occupiers. It's a constant struggle against their increasingly ruthless invaders whose war is tearing apart the continent.
A vast cultural history is packed into this short novel about Korean and the end of the Japanese occupation. The narrative feels mostly natural, as the characters grapple with the issues of patriotism, different gender roles, and surviving a war they want no part of. Interwoven with tidbits of facts, this is a good introduction to the complicated reality of war. The writing is suitable for Grade 4 and up, although they might struggle to understand some of the Korean cultural references. ( )
  queenoftheshelf | Oct 8, 2014 |
In my opinion, I thought that this was a fantastic book. First, I liked how the author wrote in the perspective of Sun-hee and her brother, Tae-yul. It was interesting to see the two sides of the same story. For example, Sun-hee loved to study Kanji because, in her eyes, it was so interesting to learn. She felt that each written character was like telling a story. Tae-yul, on the other hand, disliked the subject and did not find what about it intrigued his little sister so much. I also learned to love the overall plot of the story. It was interesting to learn about this side of World War II that I was not as familiar with. In addition, I felt that the plot was exciting, suspenseful, and surprising at times. My favorite example of the story being really surprising was when Tae-yul had written the farewell note that was sent to his family which would have signified his death, only to be revealed later on in the book that he was still alive. It was interesting to read about his side of the story during his time as a pilot for the war effort. The big idea of this book is to inform readers of this point in history, and the various circumstances the Koreans had to face in response to the Japanese ruling. ( )
  GaiaGonzales | Oct 6, 2014 |
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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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