High School

Year of Impossible Goodbyes

Year of Impossible Goodbyes

(1995) Sook Nyul Choi 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.. Sookan watches her people, forced to … Read more

Gathering of Pearls

Gathering of Pearls

(1994) Sook Nyul Choi As Sookan Bak, the heroine of Year of Impossible Goodbyes and Echoes of the White Giraffe, travels the long distance between Seoul, Korea, and New York City, she is consumed by questions about her future. What will her life in America be like? Will she be able to communicate and fit … Read more

In the Absence of Sun

In the Absence of Sun

(2002) Helie Lee Helie Lee’s first book , “Still Life with Rice,” told of her grandmother’s life, including her extraordinary journey to bring her family south across enemy lines during the Korean War, then on to America. The book’s publication angered the North Korean government, and Helie was advised that her uncle, who remained in North … Read more

Lost Names: Scenes from a Korean Boyhood

Lost Names: Scenes from a Korean Boyhood

(1998) Richard Kim Kim’s fictionalized memoir tells the story of one family’s experience during the Japanese occupation of Korea. In 1933 there is a dramatic iced-river crossing into Manchuria. In 1938, the boy and his family move back to Korea, where he must learn new routines like bowing his head toward Tokyo, toward the Japanese emperor. Later, when they are … Read more

Still Life with Rice: A Young American Woman Discovers the Life and Legacy of Her Korean Grandmother

Still Life with Rice: A Young American Woman Discovers the Life and Legacy of Her Korean Grandmother

(1996) Helie Lee In this radiant memoir of her grandmother’s life, Lee recreates a culture that is both seductively exotic and strangely familiar. Lee’s desire to recover the family’s history, as well as to understand the intricate weave of her own identity, results in the exploration of universal issues such as the complex nature of … Read more

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