My Freedom Trip: A Child’s Escape from North Korea

Grade 2-5-As the Korean War approached, Soo’s father escaped from the north into South Korea. He sent a guide for Soo, along with a promise that one would follow for her mother. Preparing to depart, the girl’s mother held her close and cried, "Be brave, Soo." These words carried the child through the difficult journey and near capture by a North Korean soldier until she was reunited with her father. The war began and Soo never saw her mother again. The story is lyrically told in the first person, with graceful similes that flow naturally from one page to the next. The rich design perfectly complements the fluid text. Korean characters adorn each page, setting the mood and place with a single powerful image. Elegant oil illustrations in dark hues set against light backgrounds capture the dichotomous memories of a peaceful childhood and the violence of war in a beloved homeland. Forms and shadows emerge from careful brush strokes; characters’ facial expressions glow with determination and courage. However, there is no note about the Korean War for students unfamiliar with the period; nor are any dates mentioned in the text. A guide to Korean words and characters is included. Shawn Brommer, Southern Tier Library System, Painted Post, NY Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Year of Publication
Number of Pages
32 pgs.
Boyds Miller
ISSN Number
Average: 4.3 (3 votes)


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A bittersweet story

Field of Interest/Specialty: 1st/2nd Grade
Posted On: 01/23/2017

This story is about a young girl, Soo, who escapes to South Korea before the Korean War erupts between the Northern and Southern Korean soldiers. It is a bittersweet story because Soo and her father find their freedom by crossing a river at two different times, but Soo had to leave her own mother behind. Soo's father found his freedom first and a few months later Soo found her freedom with the assistance of a gentleman named Mr. Han. Mr. Han helped both Soo and her father; however, it was too late for any chances of escape for Soo's mother because the areas of escape were now guarded by the Northern soldiers. This book is about the hardship of Soo leaving her mother behind to meet up with her dad and the journey she had to endure while traveling on the "path" to freedom. I believe the hardest part of her travels was the inner turmoil that she battled and the pain she had in her heart knowing her mother was left behind. The one part of Soo's mother that she held onto were her words of comfort for her to..."BE BRAVE." Those two words were embedded into her memory for the rest of her life and gave her sustaining comfort.
The story was well written and the illustrations are sweet and kind. The pictures show a gentleness even though the story has a sadness about it.

My Freedom Trip: A Child's Escape from North korea

Field of Interest/Specialty: Learning Support
Posted On: 01/16/2017

This is a story of a small Korean girl named Soo who escapes from North Korean prior to the war. It was such a dangerous time that only one person could make the trip from North to South Korea. Soo’s father made the trip first and Soo was to travel with a guide to meet her father there. Soo’s mother told her she had to be brave to make the trip. After some dangerous moments during the trip Soo meets her father. It ends sadly because her mother never made the trip in time to be with the rest of the family.

Bitter sweet

Field of Interest/Specialty: Social Studies
Posted On: 11/15/2016

Great resource and story for youngsters. I plan to use it as a discussion after my World War II unit.

My Freedom Trip

Field of Interest/Specialty: East Asia
Posted On: 05/26/2011

Children's Literature

Field of Interest/Specialty: East Asia
Posted On: 05/25/2011

My Freedom Trip, A Child's Escape from North Korea is the true story of Soo, a young North Korean girl whose journey to freedom to South Korea is described. This book is based on the life of the authors' mother. It is an appropriate read-aloud for grades 2-5.
Much discussion and many questions arose following the reading of this book to my second graders.
Questions included:
Why did the father go first?
What happened to the mother?
Why would Mr. Han risk his life to deliver people to freedom?
Would you go to a new place, knowing you might never see your mother?
Great book!