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Year of Impossible Goodbyes Paperback


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 840L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 169 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling; Reprint edition (January 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440407591
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440407591
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers 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.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 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
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 58 customer reviews
I had to read this book for summer homework.
Courtney
This story was a really good book to help my children understand what their ancestors faced.
Amazon Customer
I went back into my room and started reading the book again.
"xkimi_moox"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
Taking you back into the time when the Japanese ruled Korea, the book Year of Impossible Goodbyes written by Sook Nyul Choi leads you on to an adventurous story. The author describes events in such a detail that the book seems so realistic that it is confused to be a nonfiction book, when it is fiction. This story takes place in 1945, when the Japanese ruled Korea. The story is set on this one particular family of a ten-year-old girl named Sookan, and the rest of her family members. The situation that this family is in clearly shows the harsh life of the Koreans. Sookan¡¯s father was working secretly for freedom while her brothers and sisters were away, forced to serve the Heavenly Emperor. Her mother was ordered to take care of the sock factory where the ¡°sock girls¡± worked to produce socks for the soldiers while Captain Narita tried to destroy everything of the family. Then finally, the war ended, but the family was faced by another challenge. The Russians, who had been attempting to gain power over the Koreans came and the same life of when the Japanese were there, reoccurred. Not being able to stand the everyday routine of the cruel Russians, the family decided to go down to South Korea, where Americans were. From this point, not knowing what they were about to face, the family risks their life on a journey to the other side of the country. Told in the view of first person, the author describes the events so well that sometimes it makes the reader feel like it is happening around them. Also, the author uses some Korean words written out in English so it helps the reader to be familiar with the words and to feel like they know more about the Korean culture.Read more ›
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By "xkimi_moox" on April 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is like the bomb!!! seriously!~ I mean at school when the teacher was reading it I was like falling asleep and then the teacher assigned us that we have to read ch.4 and I was like THANK GOD! only 1 chapter, so I came home that night and snuggled into my bed and then I was like oh chapter 4... piece of cake and then I was like reading and reading, and the I accedently read to like what ch. 8 and then we had to eat dinner so I put the book down, and then after dinner usually I go and watch TV but then today was different! I went back into my room and started reading the book again. Seriously! I CAN'T put the book down then all of a sudden I finished the book and then it was like what 8:30 so this book really grabed my attention and I'm thankful that Ms. B gave me the book to read. Now it's like I know the history of Korea and I know what really accually happen in the Korean and World war. This is an amazing book and I hope people my age (...) will read this book too!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By attymom on May 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
You MUST read this book and the two other books by Choi-Echoes of White Giraffe & Gathering of Pearls. All three books are written from Sookan's perspective, as she grows up in the midst of the Japanese occupation, the war and in America, as a foreign college student. Aside from the cultural issues, as well as historic issues, the plot flows very well. The stories are very personal & honest. I really enjoyed these books and I know that when my kids, ages 5 and 9, get a little older, they will also. These are enjoyable and educational stories.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
I had to read this book for a college Children's Literature class and loved it! My father served in the Korean war but I never knew much about all that happened during this tumultuous time. Sook Nyul Choi does a superb job of transferring the reader back to Pyongyang, North Korea. You feel like you are there watching the chaos hit, as if it was your own family. It is one of the best books that I have ever read and makes me want to read more about Korea and it's people. I would recommend this book to children and adults. Teachers this is a must and a great way to teach Korean War history. The student's will always remember this book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on March 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
Sookan, a young girl from North Korea, has been living at home with her brother, Aunt, Mom, and brother under the rule of the Japanese. Just when Sookan thought things would be fine, the emperor takes away the workers from her family's sock factory, and even the the Japanese are suddenly forced out, the Russians take over. Her family has no means of income and is left with their best possible decision: to escape to the south. Sookan, her brother, and her mom leave for freedom. Along the way Sookan's mother gets arrested by Russian guards. Now Sookan and her brother must find away to escape to South Korea will she can be free with her father and two other brothers. Will she make it? Fin out by reading.

I loved this book! At first I was hesitant at reading it because I was not sure how well I'd like the story, but once I began the book I could not put it down. I became enraptured in the story, hoping with the character that she would make it to South Korea. Applause to Choi for a beautifully written book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By dTHEb on January 17, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the book, and it was an easy read. Mostly I read nonfiction, and a lot of history so this story was interesting as it put perspective to the plight of Korea during and following the Japanese occupation. The only negative was that whatever process they used to put the book in electronic form didn't work very well. There are many words that are wrong, but you can figure out what it should be. Just a little distracting.
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