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Thread: So Far From the Bamboo Grove?

  1. #1
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    Anyone else have issues with this book? We've perservered and are nearly finished but another family in the co-op started out with it this week only to have her daughter end up going off crying at all the very hard things that happen in the story. She decided the book wasn't for her. I was surprised at how much sensitive content there was, especially the use of God's name in vain. I know it's a factual acct. by the author but not sure I did my children a service by reading this one aloud to them. They are ages 15, 11, 8 & 5. Anyone else feel that way?

  2. #2
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    Was there any warning about this book in the TOG teacher notes? Does TOG list warnings about books that have mature content, or avoid if children are sensitive, etc.?

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    We read this book last year for school. I do remember modifying some elements of the book. I believe they mentioned rape at one point and I "softened" the edges a little.

    Overall my kids (10 and 9 at the time) really enjoyed this book. They did say some elements were shocking but they appreciate the book for what it taught them. The book was hard - but they now have a greater appreciation for what happens during war and as a refugee....even though in the book they returned to the "Mother Land". What a great opportunity to shepherd our children! Wars still happen...what a great chance to converse about current events. To lead our children in prayer and enlarge their hearts with compassion towards those in countries with constant violence. I think of Tunisia and Nigeria.......

    I know that Marcia has written on the literature choices and exposing our children to certain topics. I don't have the article handy. Marcia, could you point us to that? I remember it talking about greenhouses.....


    Teresa

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    thanks for your input, there is definately a storyline about rape that runs throughout the book as it was always a fear, I changed that part to just simply say attack. I do think it alerts children to what life was like and could be like in most parts of the world, however, I think you have to know your children too. some would have nightmares and be so emotionally spent like the little girl I knew that it's not worth reading, maybe when they repeat yr. 4 she'll be ready to handle it, but just not now. Thanks again for the input.

  5. #5
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    I didn't read this to my kids b/c we were out of time. However, I kind of regret that. I think the 15 year old boy could have handled it and it was an absorbing read that covered a very little know part of the war - ie. the Japanese and Korean hatred. What Hitler did to the slavs the Japanese did to the Koreans (and Chinese and Philippinos, etc.) We lived in Seoul for 2 years and toured an imperial palace from their medieval history. During their rule in Korea, the Japanese had made it a stable. That should tell you some of the animosity that went on. The rape part was pretty scary, and I definitely would have toned that down, but I do think I would have explained it to my son - just not mentioned it as often as the book did.
    Overall I'm glad I personally read it.

  6. #6
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    wow that would be something to have toured in Seoul, were you there because of military service? missions?

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    I stopped after the second chapter. My understanding is that "read alouds" should be suitable for the whole group and this book is definitely a jr-high level book or above due to the content. I understand that horrible things happen to people in war, but young children should not be exposed to graphic details. I let my dialectic student finish reading it on her own and finished a book we were reading. IMHO, Homesless Birdwould have been a better choice as a read aloud.

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    My thoughts somewhat rambling, hope they help ;)

    I can edit as I read. The rape theme was harder to edit as it was subtle, but things like inappropriate language is pretty easy to just leave out. That is also for me part of why a book is a read aloud, the fact that you might not want your kids to hear everything, but you can gently edit as you read (in some books I gently edit out sections we find to be snooze fests, too).

    However, there's a second reason I am okay with this book as a read aloud and that is the very horror of the story lends itself to good discussion that require my involvement. I find some books can encourage youngster to see war as a kind of glorious activity: men go off to fight bravely, women stay at home to support them and make sacrifices to help the war effort, and the other side is a bunch of monsters. The truth is war is horrible and that both sides have sympathetic folks involved.

    Oddly, I found the most shocking parts of the story when they return to Japan and how indifferently and scornfully they are treated by the girls at the school they attend.

    We also read another book called "When My Name was Keiko" about a Korean girl during this same time period because I wanted to make sure we got a balanced view of the the Japanese/Korean. I've also read this little book over Christmas break on my own: http://www.amazon.com/Hiroshima-By-J...6978686&sr=8-2 I will add it to my Rhetoric child's reading list when we return to Year 4. Year 4 is a dark year, but it is also the time we live in and I feel exploring some of these issues now is wise.
    Last edited by Pat; 01-19-2012 at 07:16 AM.
    Pat
    "Of two evils, choose neither."
    Charles H. Spurgeon
    http://www.spurgeon.org/mainpage.htm

  9. #9
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    Hi all,
    Pat has brought up some very good points that really hit on the reason why this book was chosen. War *is* horrible and much of the atrocities that occurred during war are aspects we may tend to want to totally skip over and instead talk about heroism and how women are home knitting stockings. We want our kids to know what was done on the homefront of course, but we don't want to totally gloss over the horrific nature of it. So, we don't encourage you to hand over this book to students of any level unless you have read it first and believe that it will be okay for your particular student. The idea, as Pat said, is that you, the parent-teacher, can edit as you read, letting the student know as much or as little as you want. And, of course, if you feel your children aren't ready whatsoever, then skip it totally. You may find some other good options among the Church History biographies in the year-plan, which do gloss over the atrocities but at least leave the student with the knowledge that war isn't a "feel-good" topic.

    Just some ideas and explanation for you...
    Dana C. in TN
    Vice President
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    "Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew,
    like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.
    I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God!"
    Deut. 32:2-4

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teresa Nguyen View Post
    I know that Marcia has written on the literature choices and exposing our children to certain topics. I don't have the article handy. Marcia, could you point us to that? I remember it talking about greenhouses.....


    Teresa
    I found it, Teresa (and others):

    http://www.tapestryofgrace.com/forum...ght=greenhouse on the problem of evil when teaching from real books.
    Blessings,
    Marcia

    No one can do me a greater kindness in this world than to pray for me.
    --Charles Spurgeon

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