Tuesday, March 31, 2009

So Far From the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins

Where to even begin with this book?! I simply could not put it down. I tried reading a couple chapters before bed which did not work out so well; I found myself turning on the lights to keep reading because thoughts about the book were swimming through my head and I couldn't sleep. It was so interesting reading about Yoko and her family's experience in Korea during WWII. This is a perspective that most of us never come in contact with when learning about WWII. I had never thought about what the Japanese families went though or been asked to reflect on anything other than the American experience during that time. Further, I never even realized that there was such conflict between the Japanese and Koreans. It's true that I'm no history buff, but I'm pretty sure that this can be attributed to me not learning about it in school. I certainly do not want this to happen with my future students, and therefore, will do everything in my power to present them with stories like Yoko's. I want them to have the chance to express their feelings and and be able to respond to the Japanese experience during this time.

What Yoko and her family went through is by no means pleasant. Many grueling and graphic details were revealed on account of the author's honesty and openness about the events that occurred. Students do not need to be sheltered from these details. It needs to be accepted that students can handle such content; keeping it from them means keeping them from the truth.

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