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So Far from the Bamboo Grove by Yoko…

So Far from the Bamboo Grove (edition 1994)

by Yoko Kawashima Watkins

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58513816,858 (3.79)4
Title:So Far from the Bamboo Grove
Authors:Yoko Kawashima Watkins
Info:HarperCollins (1994), Edition: 1st Beech Tree ed, Paperback, 192 pages
Collections:3rd-4th Grade Readers, International Books, Contemporary Realistic Fiction, Chapter Books

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So far from the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins



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I didn't like this book mostly for the gory events taking place in the story. I felt unsettled and sick to my stomach throughout most of the book. The author of 'So Far from the Bamboo Grove', tells a very difficult story that after reading, opened my eyes to the horrific events that people went through in real life.This book is based off of true events which is extremely hard to understand after reading the story. This book is definitely not for elementary aged students, as there is a lot of rape and violence throughout the book. I would recommend this book for more mature audiences that can handle violence, rape, and death. Overall, the story had great imagery and the characters were easy to imagine because of the voices created for them. This book tells a rough story that was hard for me to take in. Readers that can handle violence would enjoy this thrilling story. ( )
  Jmader2 | Apr 7, 2017 |
I personally did not like this book because I could not relate to it whatsoever. On the book it says its appropriate for a 3rd grade classroom.I feel as if this book was to extremely gory and mature to be reading to a group of eight-year olds. I think the appropriate age for this book is 6th grade (eleven or twelve-year olds). I say this because the author describes horrific deaths as well as rape. Most likely, 3rd grade students will not know what that is. However, Im sure people are interested about reading graphic war stories would enjoy 'So Far from the Bamboo Grove.' I did really enjoy how the author gave the main characters (Yoko, the mother, Hiydeo (brother) and Ko (sister)) actual personalities. They really acted like the age the author described them to be. This definitely a story that makes you realize what you have and to be thankful. No family should have to go through the experiences Yoko and her family endured. ( )
  katelynzemlak | Apr 4, 2017 |
While I personally loved this book, I do not think it would be fitting for all school-aged readers. The story follows a Japanese family as they must leave their homes to avoid being robbed and murdered by Koreans during the end of World War II. It was expertly written, full of detail and suspense, especially during the parts where Yoko, Ko, and Mother are traveling through the forests to get to a safer land. My criticism for why I would be hesitant for young readers to have this book comes from the rape, murder, and death throughout this book. Scenes of mothers throwing themselves off of trains, young girls getting raped in bathrooms, and senseless killings fill the pages of this book. There would definitely need to be a consideration of the maturity level of students before allowing this as a classroom book. The message of "better things to come' and making a new life for yourself are very relatable for readers, even though the story as a whole might not be. After mother passes, Yoko and Ko work tirelessly to ensure that they have the money they need to stay alive and well. Their perseverance helps them to stay positive and to eventually come back into contact with their brother, which ends the book beautifully. I would strongly recommend this book for high-school and adult readers, but would be more hesitant to provide it for upper middle school readers. ( )
  ghall6 | Apr 4, 2017 |
So Far From The Bamboo Grove is semi-autobiographical and was written based based on the author's childhood experiences. Yoko Kawashima Watkins describes the aftermath of World War II in Korea. Yoko and her family have to return to Japan and hide from both the Soviet military and the Koreans. Her mother, her sister and her embark on a perilous journey back to Korea where they encounter an innumerable amount of atrocities. These range from death to blatant hatred to rape. Yoko's brother makes his own journey to Japan from the ammunition's factory he was stationed in. This book was gripping and very well written. However, I cannot say that I enjoyed it. I found myself cringing throughout the entire story. I did like it for two reasons: the character development and the historical information provided. The characters (Yoko, Ko, the mother and Hideyo) were given personality and life in the pages of this book. The strength of the family is apparent when Yoko, Ko and her mother travel from train box cars to train stations. Their ingenuity was discernible when they don Korean Communist uniforms. Hideyo's own journey presented a parallel journey in which he skillfully and cleverly makes his way back to Japan and his two sisters. The historical information provided to the reader was very apparent. So Far From The Bamboo Grove allows the audience to see another perspective of World War II and its aftermath. While these two aspects make the book a solid "four stars", I could not give it "five stars" because of the content. It is certainly hard to read. ( )
  mkenne29 | Mar 4, 2017 |
In my opinion, this book is wonderful chapter book that individuals such as Yoko, had to endure during the Japanese Occupation. I was able to connect to Yoko in the story because I too am the youngest of my siblings.
Watkins uses realistic and graphic imagery to engage her readers. A teacher should be careful on selecting this book for a lesson because the striking events that happen throughout the story. Watkins also makes the plot engaging by making it suspenseful. I felt like while I was reading this book that I didn’t want to put it down. I needed to know what was happening next. Additionally, the mystery about what happens to Yoko’s dad is never revealed throughout the book. The author also switches perspectives throughout the book once Hideyo (Yoko’s brother) is safe and starts to search for his family. I enjoyed reading about his journey along with Yoko’s. Her decision to do this made the book even more engaging because as I reader, I kept asking myself “When are they going to meet up again?”. I think readers will be able to relate to the characters as well because they are put into certain situations that us readers can relate to. For example, Yoko endures bullying in school but decides not to fight back, while instead tries to be the smartest in her class. I believe all students have felt bullied one way or another and can relate to this. If not, it would be beneficial for them to read it from a different perspective.
I feel like there can be many messages or ideas pulled out of this book. One being to never give up as Yoko and her family had to work hard to survive. Other possible messages could be about family, unity, and the power of friendship. ( )
  aphelp6 | Mar 1, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0688131158, Paperback)

In the final days of World War II, Koreans were determined to take back control of their country from the Japanese and end the suffering caused by the Japanese occupation. As an eleven-year-old girl living with her Japanese family in northern Korea, Yoko is suddenly fleeing for her life with her mother and older sister, Ko, trying to escape to Japan, a country Yoko hardly knows.

Their journey is terrifying—and remarkable. It's a true story of courage and survival that highlights the plight of individual people in wartime. In the midst of suffering, acts of kindness, as exemplified by a family of Koreans who risk their own lives to help Yoko's brother, are inspiring reminders of the strength and resilience of the human spirit.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:44 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A fictionalized autobiography in which eleven-year-old Yoko escapes from Korea to Japan with her mother and sister at the end of World War II.

(summary from another edition)

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