Brother’s Keeper is a gripping middle grade novel for mature tweens. If your kids love historical fiction, they will devour this book about the Korean War!
Brother’s Keeper is Brilliant Historical Fiction About the “Forgotten War”
Whoa, was Brother’s Keeper good! We’re talking intense, edge of your seat kind of good — the good that keeps you up all night reading because you just need to know what happens and can’t fall asleep until you have answers.
If you have a child who loves tween books that delve into history through relatable characters and fast-paced plots, Brother’s Keeper is a story he won’t put down.
About Brother’s Keeper and Sora’s Plight
Brother’s Keeper is a gripping debut novel by Julie Lee. The novel centers around the Korean War, also known as the Forgotten War, because it is frequently overlooked in history. It is the story of 12-year-old Sora and her family who live in North Korea under an iron set of rules. They must attend Communist meetings, they can’t travel without a permit, they can’t speak critically of the government— and they are being watched. Always and everywhere, the government is watching.
War is coming, and when it finally breaks out between North and South Korea — the Soviets and the Americans — Sora’s family and thousands upon thousands of others know they must flee and do whatever it takes to get to the South. One night, Sora’s family does just that. They leave their home and everything they know to walk hundreds and hundreds of miles to Busan, a South Korean city.
Yet, their escape does not go according to plan. When a bomb strikes and changes everything, Sora and her younger brother Youngsoo find themselves alone, facing biting cold, frostbite, hunger and enemies without their parents to guide them. Will they ever make it to Busan? And if they do, will their family even be there?
Brother’s Keeper Sheds Light on War and Oppression Through Compelling Characters
This novel, my friends!!! I have never read anything about the Korean War, and I have seen very little about this period in children’s literature. Brother’s Keeper is harrowing and emotional, shedding light on families torn apart while seeking freedom from oppression. Mature tweens will root for Sora to persist through the unimaginable. They will cheer for her courage, determination, and quick thinking during her fight for survival. The complicated family dynamics will also intrigue tween readers as they illuminate the role girls play in many family units world wide. Finally, Sora’s compelling voice is sure to resonate and stick with readers long after the final page of Brother’s Keeper has been turned.
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Brother’s Keeper is based on Lee’s mother’s experiences as a young woman in Korea, and historical fiction-loving tweens will find the story captivating. I read this on the edge of my seat, horrified by the harsh reality so many families endured during the Forgotten War. I felt awestruck by Sora’s courage and tenacity, and Lee’s beautiful writing hooked me from the very first page. I’m beyond excited to add this book to my school library!
Please be aware that there are some graphic scenes. Always remember that YOU know your child best- namely, what sensitivities they have and what they will or will not enjoy! Make sure to always take these considerations into account when selecting books for your kids!