94 pages 3 hours read

When My Name Was Keoko

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2002

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to prompt student engagement.


When My Name Was Keoko

  • Genre: Fiction; middle grade historical fiction
  • Originally Published: 2002
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 670L; grades 4-7
  • Structure/Length: 32 chapters; approx. 208 pages; approx. 6 hours, 12 minutes on audio
  • Protagonist and Central Conflict: Korean 10-year-old Sun-hee and her 13-year-old brother Tae-yul narrate this story set during the Japanese occupation of Korea during World War II. After the Japanese declare Korean language and culture illegal, Sun-hee, Tae-yul, and their family rebel in subtle ways to keep their identities alive, putting them all in danger.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Depictions of wartime violence and violence against civilians

Linda Sue Park, Author

  • Bio: Born in 1960 in Urbana, IL; daughter of immigrants from Korea; writer of novels, nonfiction, poetry, and picture books for young readers; served as a panelist for the Kirkus Prize, the National Book Award, and the SCBWI Golden Kite Award
  • Other Works: Archer’s Quest (2006); A Long Walk to Water (2010); Prairie Lotus (2020)
  • Awards: ALA Best Book for Young Adults (2003); ALA Notable Book for Children (2003)

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Unit:

  • Resistance and Liberation Occur Differently for Every Individual
  • Sacrifice and Struggle Deepen the Appreciation for Community
  • The Ability to Shift Morals and Expectations During War

STUDY OBJECTIVES: In accomplishing the components of this Unit, students will:

Related Titles

By Linda Sue Park