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Year of Impossible Goodbyes by Sook Nyul…

Year of Impossible Goodbyes (1991)

by Sook Nyul Choi

Series: Sookan (1)

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historical fiction, WWII, Korean occupation by Japanese and then Russian. Told from one family's point of view.
  bp0128bd | Jan 24, 2014 |
historical fiction, WWII, Korean occupation by the Japanese and then the Russians. Told from one family's point of view.
  Phill242 | May 6, 2013 |
Times are tough for 10 year old Sookan and her family. They live in North Korea, and their region has been taken over by the cruel Japanese military during WWII. Close to starvation, the residents work to the bone and are constantly terrorized. Their possessions have been taken and destroyed, along with their traditions. Sookan has to go to a Japanese school where she will get in trouble if she speaks Korean. When the war ends, things don’t improve. Now the Russians have moved in, and brainwash residents into a revival, asking for converts to Communism, and to report anyone who speaks against the regime. Sookan and her remaining family members make plans to sneak away to the south, where they think Sookan’s father must be. This account, based on the life of the author, is full of the horrible details of war – oppression, starvation, death, loss, and seemingly no hope. Readers will hold their breath to find out if Sookan and her brother make it through the barbed wire fences and into South Korea!
  KimReadingLog | May 13, 2012 |
Sookan's family is terrorized by Cpt. Narita during WWII. Town is conforming from one oppressive regime to another. Sookan finally flees with the rest of her family (grandpa, aunt and cousin die). ( )
  elpowers | Dec 16, 2011 |
For students:

World War II contains infinite stories. Some we have heard many times, and others we haven't. Take a peek into a story that perhaps you haven't heard before, of Sookan, a young girl living in Northern Korea during and right after World War II. Sookan lives with her mother, grandfather, and younger brother in a small house in Pyongyang, producing socks for the Japanese military. As they wait for Sookan's father and older brothers to return, they endure many hardships at the hands of the Japanese occupiers. At last, the war is over, but it seems that their troubles are not.

Told with strength and grace, this is a wonderfully told story of a family's fight for survival, even in the face of terrible cruelty and oppression. The author lived in Korea as a child during this time, enduring some of the same suffering Sookan endures.

You will enjoy this book if you like realistic historical fiction, books about people overcoming terrible hardship, or if you enjoy reading about people in faraway places.

For educators and librarians:

A wonderful addition to your collection, this book is heartbreaking, but ultimately full of hope. While a few students may be familiar with the Japanese occupation of Korea during World War II, many more are not, and will find this story enriching and exciting.

Reading level: 11 and up
Appropriateness: some of the violence is graphic, but never superfluous
Kids who would like this book: students interested in World War II, especially looking beyond the often Eurocentric domination of such literature

Highly recommended. ( )
  ALelliott | Nov 28, 2011 |
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To my little brother and in memory of my mother and Mark
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Small clusters of pale green needles emerged from the old weathered pine tree in our front yard.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440407591, Paperback)

It is 1945, and courageous ten-year-old Sookan and her family must endure the cruelties of the Japanese military occupying Korea.  Police captain Narita does his best to destroy everything of value to the family, but he cannot break their spirit.  Sookan's father is with the resistance movement in Manchuria and her older brothers have been sent away to labor camps.  Her mother is forced to supervise a sock factory and Sookan herself must wear a uniform and attend a Japanese school.

Then the war ends.  Out come the colorful Korean silks and bags of white rice.  But Communist Russian troops have taken control of North Korea and once again the family is suppressed.  Sookan and her family know their only hope for freedom lies in a dangerous escape to Americancontrolled South Korea.

Here is the incredible story of one family's love for each other and their determination to risk everything to find freedom.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:43 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A young Korean girl survives the oppressive Japanese and Russian occupation of North Korea during the 1940s, to later escape to freedom in South Korea.

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