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  • Year of Impossible Goodbyes
  • Written by Sook Nyul Choi
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780440407591
  • Our Price: $5.99
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Year of Impossible Goodbyes

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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.
Sook Nyul Choi

About Sook Nyul Choi

Sook Nyul Choi - Year of Impossible Goodbyes

Photo © Lovella Beres

“Reading always has been a source of joy and discovery for me. Through writing I try to share my feelings, ideas, and visions with my readers as I would share them with my close friends.”—Sook Nyul Choi

Sook Nyul Choi’s books have received numerous honors including an ALA Notable Book, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, and the Judy Lopez Book Award of the National Women’s Book Association.


Sook Nyul Choi was born in Pyongyang, North Korea. As a young refugee during the Korean War, Choi learned to face injustice and cruelty with courage and determination. Choi’s novels, which are based upon her own experiences, have enriched the lives of young people all over the world.

Choi emigrated to the U.S. to pursue her college education. She graduated from Manhattanville College in 1962. Except for a brief period during which she worked in the business world, she taught in public and parochial schools in New York and Massachusetts for 20 years while raising her two daughters.

Sook Nyul Choi is the author of Year of Impossible Goodbyes, a novel about 10-year-old Sookan and her life in Korea during the aftermath of World War II. It has been translated into Korean, French, Italian, and Japanese. It is an ALA Notable Book and has received many other honors as well.

Choi also wrote Echoes of the White Giraffe, a sequel to Year of Impossible Goodbyes. Sookan, again the main character, is now 15 and a refugee growing up amidst the sorrows of the Korean War. Her story brings to life the time, place, and intense emotions of a people surrounded by turmoil and tragedy.



—An ALA Notable Book
—A Judy Lopez Book Award of the National Women’s Book Association
—An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
—A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age
—A Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book
—A Hungry Mind Book of Distinction

“A glimpse into a young girl’s mind and into a nation’s heart—a tale of bearing witness to the plight of a people . . . should also be read by adults—both for its poignancy and for its capacity to illuminate.”—The New York Times Book Review

“A sensitive and honest portrayal of amazing courage. . . . Readers cannot fail to be uplifted.”—Publishers Weekly

“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.”—Starred, School Library Journal

“Choi describes the Japanese persecution in an even tone that makes it even more chilling. . . . A vividly written, compellingly authentic story.”—Starred, Kirkus Reviews



NOMINEE 1996 Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award
NOMINEE 1995 Illinois Rebecca Caudill Young Readers Award
WINNER 1993 Kansas William White Master List
WINNER 1992 Maine Student Book Master List
WINNER 1995 Massachusetts Children's Book Master List

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