When My Name Was Keoko takes place in Korea during World War 2. Korea is controlled by Japan at this point in time, and has been since 1910. (Fact # 1 out of many that I learned by reading this book.) In an effort to gain more and more control over the Koreans, Japan decrees that every Korean has to change their name to a Japanese name. Sun-hee (who becomes Keoko) and Tae-yul (who becomes Nobuo) take turns narrating this story.
While the battlefields of World War 2 never come to Korea, that doesn't mean their lives are unaffected. The Japanese take their food and metal for resources, and conscript their young men and women into the work force. And always, they suppress Korea's identity and culture. Sun-hee and Tae-yul are both incredibly brave in their own ways as they seek to stay true to who they are.
This is a very powerful book. Being told from the point of view of children makes it even more so. If you are looking to learn something about Korean history or if you are looking for an entirely different perspective on World War 2, you can't do any better than to read When My Name Was Keoko.