Cover image for My freedom trip
My freedom trip
Park, Frances, 1955-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Honesdale, Pa. : Boyds Mill Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
The story of a young girl's escape from North Korea, based on the life of the authors' mother.
Reading Level:
510 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.3 0.5 25279.

Reading Counts RC K-2 2.6 2 Quiz: 13607.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV640.4.K67 P37 1998 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



This deeply moving story of a child's escape in the dark of night from North Korea to South Korea is based on memories of the author's mother. Just prior to the outbreak of the Korean War, young Soo secretly crosses the 38th parallel, hoping to join her father on the other side. Because it is dangerous for more than one person to cross at a time, her mother waits behind. At every step there seems to be enemy soldiers, but the child remembers her mother's words--"Be brave, Soo!"--which continues to sustain her even years later. In spare and elegant prose, the authors tell a story of a young girl's faith and courage. Lustrous oil paintings capture precious moments when the family is together as well as the frightening danger of the journey in this NCSS/CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book.

Author Notes

Frances Park and Ginger Park are sisters who both live near Washington D.C., where they own a shop called Chocolate Chocolate. This is their first book for children. Frances is the author of an adult novel, Hotline Heaven, and she and Ginger have a new picture book and a young adult novel forthcoming from Boyds Mills Press.

Debra Reid Jenkins is a nationally recognized fine artist who lives in Lowell, Michigan. She has illustrated two books for children, I See the Moon, and I Wanted to Know All about God. This is her first book for Boyds Mills Press.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-9. Like Kaplan in One More Border, reviewed on p.115, the authors tell the true story of a parent's childhood escape to freedom. The Parks' mother, Soo, is a young schoolgirl when her father leaves North Korea secretly one night to cross the border. Later his gentle guide comes back for Soo; they travel by train, then by foot over a mountain and through the woods. Suddenly a soldier leaps out at them, but the guide pleads for the child, and the soldier whispers, "Go quickly, child." Soo's father is waiting across the river, and there is a joyful reunion, but the Korean War breaks out, and she never sees her mother again. The story is told by Soo in the first person, and she remembers an idyllic time with family and friends before the trouble; there is no sense of what they are running from. The large, beautiful oil paintings dramatize the tenderness of the family, the anguish of their leave-taking, and the drama of the child's journey through the dark countryside and across the border. --Hazel Rochman

School Library Journal Review

Gr 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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.