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So Far from the Bamboo Grove by Yoko…
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So Far from the Bamboo Grove (edition 1994)

by Yoko Kawashima Watkins

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56613117,572 (3.79)4
Member:dbalic1
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
Rating:*****
Tags:international

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So far from the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins

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So far from the Bamboo Grooves was by far my most enjoyable book that we were assigned in class. Through its two different point of views and its vivid characters, this book whose theme is perseverance, created a very enjoyable and emotional journey of a family fleeing Korea during war. The autobiography traced this young girl in her journey to freedom by accompanying her in the train ride where a woman gave birth to a dead baby, in the woods where the family would hide from soldiers, and the apartment that her and her sister lived once they were safe. The vivid details of the soldiers, the woods, the trains, and the people she met were incredibly helpful when I envisioned the story in my mind as I read. The story also switched to not only focus on Yoko (the author), but also on her brother who was making the journey alone. It traced his hardships when he was hiding in a box in the factory when it was attacked, when he found his house abandoned and robbed, and when he trekked through the snow in the woods. The author used vivid language to describe these settings which helped me again to envision the setting and hardships of the family. The characters in this story were also very well developed. From reading this, I began to understand that Yoko was a very stubborn but strong girl, her sister was a leader and was also very strong, and her mother was strong as well and very, very caring of her daughters and son. The sister often yelled at Yoko when she was complaining while mother would hold Yoko when she was cold and was patient with her at all times. ( )
  tvance2 | Nov 16, 2016 |
This book was a beautiful and thought provoking story of tragedy, heartache and family. It begins with a thrilling house raid that forces Yoko, her sister and her mother to flee Japan, leaving her brother and father to fend for themselves. The story takes us through Yoko's struggles and survival tactics to get to Korea, her homeland she'd never stepped foot on. Even once she gets there, the battle is not one. Tragedy strikes but life still must go on. I would highly recommend for the upper grades of elementary school and early middle school! ( )
  eshiel3 | Oct 23, 2016 |
I had mixed feelings about this book. It was told genuinely from the author’s experiences. I feel that it’d be categorized best as a memoir, though it may read as a historical fiction book. The book was true to the author’s memories, but it tells a difficult story of the end of World War II. There is an us-and-them mentality created, considering the Japanese and Koreans were at war at this time. However, it doesn’t paint a simplistic negative image of Koreans, though told from the Japanese’s perspective. It tells a story of suffering and survival, of hurting and hope. These were all captivating aspects of the novel, yet it was still a slow book to read. I was not enthralled by the story, probably because of the many hardships the characters faced. At the same time, that helped the reader understand a new perspective and develop historical background. As a young girl, Yoko provides a different point of view to the chaos and shows what some people find important through times of despair that others may not find important. Overall, I’d find books like this essential to read for those who want broad cultural perspectives. The message of this story is that relying on your family during times of despair is imperative for survival. ( )
  drobin24 | Oct 23, 2016 |
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 |
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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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