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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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56212817,723 (3.78)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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So Far from the Bamboo Grove was a very impacting book about a family whose mother and two daughters must flee their country on their own to escape a very violent group who is looking for their family. I did not enjoy this book because of the graphic scenes and the very sad nature of the book. In the first chapter, in one of the very first scenes, the youngest member of the family, Yoko who is only eleven is badly beaten, in her own home by Korean army men, because she was trying to stand up for her family. The violence gets increasingly worse throughout the rest of the book, and I really did not enjoy it. The book also has very sad throughout it. For example, when the oldest son, Hideyo was working in a Korean war factory there was an invasion and many of his friends and coworkers were shot and killed. The book describes many details, like Hideyo covering himself in blood to try to look dead to the soldiers still in the factory, looking for people who were still alive. Many scenes were worse than the two described so I did not enjoy this book. I believe the message in this book is the strength of family. Yoko’s family went through a lot with war, injuries, and death but they stayed together and helped each other as much as possible, and this made them successful and stronger. ( )
  CaseyKlasmeyer | Oct 4, 2016 |
There are many reasons why I liked this novel. The story was written in first person, as Yoko told about her experiences during the end of WW2. Having it told in first person, made the readers more sympathetic to This perspective of the war, as they are able to feel and sympathize with Yokos experiences and emotions. My favorite part of this novel was the extremely descriptive language used throughout the story. The clearly worded depiction of her experiences made me feel as if I was actually seeing what was happening such as the graphic yet detailed part when the Koreans were shooting the Japanese as they were walking from the river. The writing was very engaging, since the details allowed for readers to feel like they were actually there, as well as organized since the novel is told in a timeline like manner starting when her and her family first left their home, following them and their story in order. The writing also used appropriate punctuation, allowing for the reader to determine the tone of the characters, for example "Welcome home, Honorable brother!" shows excitement. The characters are well developed, as it follows Yoko, and her thoughts, and her family through their journey and many encounters showing how the war has affected everyone. this book pushes the importance of family and well as how perspective can change everything. ( )
  AnnaRubin | Oct 3, 2016 |
The book I read is “So Far From the Bamboo Grove” by Yoko Kawashima Watkins. The book is a historical fiction chapter book. I would give this book 4 stars. The main idea of the book is to show the reader the hardships and fear of being Japanese after the war. The language, characters, and point-of-view all help factor into how hard it was.
Langauge: The author uses very graphic language to talk about what the Koreans did to the Japanese such as bombing the plane and shooting them as they were walking down the river.
Characters: The characters are important because the family is a Japanese family that lives in Korea and escapes to Japan to run away from the communism. The characters in the book all play a role in how the war has affected everyone.
Point-of-View: The point-of-view is told by a young girl, which shows the reader how serious the war really was. Koreans had no sympathy on Japanese regardless of age, and being scared that you are going to get killed at that young of an age is scary. ( )
  NajetAniba | Oct 3, 2016 |
I thought this book was excellent and would be a great fit for 5th graders and up. The chapter book was a more moderately level book and is written about a serious topic that I would recommend only for advanced readers or mature readers. The way the book is written is a time line format starting from when the main character Yoko and her Japanese family must leave their home in Northern Korea in order to escape the communists trying to kill them. The story is based on the author's real journey of trying to survive the end of WW2 and how they lean on each other to do so. Yoko, her older sister Ko, and their mother are separated from their father and brother and must learn to survive woful conditions while waiting for the arrival of their other family members. I enjoyed this book so much because of the imagery and word choice the author provides to us. She makes it seem like the readers are there with her reliving this hard time, which makes it much more interesting to read and learn about. When talking about her first day at a new school in Japan she says, "...surrounded by camellias and bamboo trees. We crossed the frosty ground. My heart beat loudly as I sat next to Mother..." This helps me picture her school, picture the weather, and how she might have been feeling on her first day in school. Overall this book was excellent and I would recommend to all adults and children 10 and up. ( )
  ahaver1 | Oct 3, 2016 |
I enjoyed this book because it focused on the life of a young girl during World War II. Readers are able to connect to the characters and somewhat sense what this family went through. After having to flee Korea, Yoko, an 11 year old Japanese girl, and her family returned to Japan. Traveling with her mother and sister, Yoko faced gunfire, poverty, diseases, and came close to starvation. These girls went through it all. After the death of Yoko and Ko's mother, they had to determine how they were going to survive, which eventually leads to success. An example from the book where Yoko and Ko came to realization is when Yoko added, "Ko counted a little over thirty-six thousand yen- a hundred dollars. We looked at each other in amazement." They realized that their mother had money hidden in her wrapping cloth and that is why she took it with her to the toilet when she was alive; because she needed money. The girls insisted that the money would be used for emergencies only. This example goes to show the struggles the family faced, as well as how responsible they were with a large amount of cash. On another hand, Yoko allowed readers to visualize certain parts of the story by exclaiming, "We needed to bathe. We dared not leave our belongings at the station, so we carried everything to the river." Overall, the dedication evident throughout the story represents to readers that this family's journey was long, yet inspiring. ( )
  mbauer9 | Sep 26, 2016 |
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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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