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Sook Nyul Choi

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

Author Bookshelf


By: Sook Nyul Choi

There's always so much fuss over baby Kiju that Sunhi suspects her family doesn't have any interest in her anymore.  Kiju is a sweet baby, but Sunhi can't help being jealous.  Her grandmother...

Echoes of the White Giraffe

By: Sook Nyul Choi

Year of Impossible Goodbyes

By: Sook Nyul Choi

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...