Year of Impossible Goodbyes

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Overview

This autobiographical story tells of ten-year-old Sookan and her family's suffering and humiliation in Korea, first under Japanese rule and after the Russians invade, and of a harrowing escape to South Korea. "Moving in its statement of human rights . . . Readers will find themselves moved back in time and forward in spirit." -- The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review

A young Korean girl survives the oppressive Japanese and Russian occupation ...

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Year of Impossible Goodbyes

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Overview

This autobiographical story tells of ten-year-old Sookan and her family's suffering and humiliation in Korea, first under Japanese rule and after the Russians invade, and of a harrowing escape to South Korea. "Moving in its statement of human rights . . . Readers will find themselves moved back in time and forward in spirit." -- The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review

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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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In 1945, 10-year-old Sookan's homeland of North Korea is occupied by the Japanese. Left behind while her resistance-fighter father hides in Manchuria and her older brothers toil in Japanese labor camps, Sookan and her remaining family members run a sock factory for the war effort, bolstered only by the dream that the fighting will soon cease. Sookan watches her people--forced to renounce their native ways--become increasingly angry and humiliated. When war's end brings only a new type of domination--from the Russian communists--Sookan and her younger brother must make a harrowing escape across the 38th parallel after their mother has been detained at a Russian checkpoint. Drawn partly from Choi's own experiences, her debut novel is a sensitive and honest portrayal of amazing courage. In clear, graceful prose, she describes a sad period of history that is astonishing in its horror and heart-wrenching in its truth. Readers cannot fail to be uplifted by this account of the triumph of the human spirit in an unjust world. Ages 10-up. Sept.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-- Ten-year-old Sookan tells of her Korean family's experiences during the Japanese occupation as World War II ends. The Japanese commit cruel, fear-provoking acts against this proud, hopeful family and against the young girls who worked in a sweatshop making socks for the Japanese army. Relief, hope, and anticipation of the return of male family members after the Japanese defeat is short lived as the Russians occupy the country, bringing their language, their customs, and communism to the village. Equally as insensitive to the pride and possessions of the Koreans, they are as bad as the Japanese. Plans are made for Sookan, her mother, and younger brother to escape to South Korea. However, their guide betrays them, causing the children to be separated from their mother, and the two begin a daring and frightening journey to cross the 38th parallel to safety. Through Sookan, the author shares an incredible story of the love and determination of her family, the threatening circumstances that they endured during occupations by two totalitarian governments, and the risks they took to escape to freedom. Readers will get a double bonus from this book--a good story, well told, and the reaffirmation of our faith in the human spirit against incredible adversities . -- Lydia Champlin, Beachwood City Schools, OH
From the Publisher
"Moving in its statement of human rights . . . Readers will find themselves moved back in time and forward in spirit." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Starred
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780606030014
  • Publisher: San Val, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/1/1993
  • Format: Library Binding

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 25 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(16)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2002

    Best Book Ever!!!!

    This was such a good book. The first time I read it was in 7th grade when my teacher put out a couple of choices to choose from, no one chose 'Year of Impossible Goodbyes' so I chose to read it. I had to do a book report on that, I got a 100%!!! I read it 2 more times after that. Once, in 8th grade and again in 9th grade. In my opinion, I think everyone should read this book!!! And don't forget there is a part 2.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2013

    Inkadoo

    I think that this was a great book. I read this book when i was in 6th grade when we had different books to choose from. I thought that this was a good book because it's exciting,sad, and based on reality. I definetly recomend this book. Also some people can relate to it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2001

    Korean War?

    This book really teachs both the student and teacher about the Korean War since we do not really talk about it in other classes. It focuses on the struggle of a family to keep their Korean lifestlye and beliefs during the time of Japanese control.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2001

    Great Book!

    Year Of Impossible Goodbyes is the best book I've read this year. We're reading it in class, and it is very interesting. It doesn't just talk about the battles in the war, instead, it shows what the regular people had to go through. I definitely reccomend this book!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2013

    Inspiring story, but...

    This is a great story; very inspiring and very interesting.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 7, 2011

    Inspiring

    I LOVED this book! The characters are interesting and I love how the author really shows each characters personality and role in the story. Really sad, yet happy. Just loved it. Wish they had it available in Hangul.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2006

    An all around good book

    Set in 1945 during World War II, Year of Impossible Goodbyes describes the life of Koreans under both Japanese and Russian control. Choi was born in Pyongyang, North Korea, which is where this story takes place. She wrote from her own experiences to tell about life in Korea during World War II. The accounts given of life during this time are very accurate because Choi herself experienced them with her family. Choi described the daily life of Koreans under Japanese control as terrifying and devastating, and after reading this book, it is easy to understand why. Koreans were stripped of all valuable property, removed from their homes, given not nearly enough food for their families, and expected to do back breaking work for little or no pay. Under Russian control, life seemed to be immediately better, before people realized that it was really no different than the Japanese occupation.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2005

    Best of all time

    This book is about a 10 year old girl who suffers from the japannese. This book is a enspiring book because it teaches you a lot.I reccomend people of all ages to read this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2004

    Better than a movie

    This book ranks up there with books such as The Diary of Anne Frank. This one is written simply enough that a child can read it; yet it is packed full of historical, cultural and visual details which make it also informative and compelling for a reader of any age. Non-Korean readers get a window into the recent past of this great and gentle nation through the eyes of an innocent young girl.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2004

    One of the years worst

    It was so boring that i couldn't pay attention. I read the back and was interested...but it sounds like this child sounds sorry for something..but isn't gonna do anything!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2004

    ONE OF MY FAVORITE BOOKS

    this book is awsome. at the end i cried because its beautiful book. some parts are really sad though.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2003

    Use it in a classroom

    As a teacher I would strongly recommend this book. It deals with many issues very delicately and with tact. It's very powerful and a moving story about a young Korean girl who lives during a time of great turmoil. The author combines aspects of human life and history to create a phenmonal book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2002

    7th Grader in Burgettstown, PA

    This is undoubtedly one of the greatest books I've ever read. It uncovers a more-or-less untold facet of WWII. We often focus on the Holocaust, which, don't get me wrong, was horrible, but this shows a point of view from victims in other parts of the world. What this book ultimately proves is that no matter how you look at it, war wreaks havoc on everyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2002

    high sch junior

    great novel i ever read. actually i wanna give 4.5 *...well,count as 5

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2000

    The book that you could put down

    This book was a disapointed. I usually like books that have do with the wars. I felt that the Author carried on and should of been more direct.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2009

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews

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