Skip to main content
by Sook Nyul Choi


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


  • ALA Notable Children’s Books: 1992


5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, 9th Grade, Ages 9-12, Historical Fiction, WWII