A Step From Heaven

Paperback | October 13, 2003

byAn Na

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When four-year-old Young Ju Park first hears the words Mi Gook -- Korean for "America" -- she is sure that they mean "Heaven." But when her family moves to Southern California the following year, she finds the transition from life in Korea far from easy. The countless unexpected challenges -- from learning English, to finding work, to attending school -- put more and more pressure on the Park family until its fragile construction begins to splinter. Yet as Young Ju grows from child to adolescent in her new home she finds a surprising new voice -- neither Korean nor American, but uniquely her own. That voice allows her to make sense of her world, and gives her the strength to succeed. A Step from Heaven is the stunning debut of an equally unique writer.

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When four-year-old Young Ju Park first hears the words Mi Gook -- Korean for "America" -- she is sure that they mean "Heaven." But when her family moves to Southern California the following year, she finds the transition from life in Korea far from easy. The countless unexpected challenges -- from learning English, to finding work, to ...

An Na was born in Korea and grew up in San Diego, California. A former middle school English and history teacher, she is currently at work on her third novel. She lives in Vermont.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:160 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.41 inPublished:October 13, 2003Publisher:Penguin Young Readers GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0142500275

ISBN - 13:9780142500279

Appropriate for ages: 13 - 17

Customer Reviews of A Step From Heaven

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyable Young Ju is very young when she learns that her family is moving from Korea to America (Mi Gook). She doesn't quite understand and thinks that the trip on the plane to the USA will take her to heaven. She grows up in America with an American schooling system but still has very Asian parents that try to make her adhere to her Korean culture. Young Ju's father becomes verbally and physically abusive the longer the family stays in Korea, making Young Ju question whether she should act according to her Korean background or act like kids of her new country. This short book has definite segregation between it's chapters, as there was usually a change in time between them. It was never made very clear how much time had elapsed from the last chapter which made me feel like I was always trying to get my bearings. The only other problem I had with the book is that many Korean words are used and I had to enlist my husband to help me translate as he is 1/2 Korean. The story is mildly depressing but there is always the glimmer of hope of living the "American dream" and being better off by having moved to a new country. I enjoyed this story of a family's immigration and cultural adaption experience.
Date published: 2012-01-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from interesting immigrant journey to the US Young Ju is only 4 when her family moves from Korea to the US. This book follows the journey of a young immigrant entering the school system without a word of English and being sort of in between the American and Korean cultures. Her father strives to maintain his Korean culture and values and becomes increasingly frustrated. He eventually becomes abusive and finally decides to return home. Young Ju's mother is more able to cope and after having a son joins a Korean church and starts to become assimilated. The son while spoiled for just being a boy spirals into worse and worse behaviour. This book reads like a collection of short stories. I had a bit of difficulty with all the Korean words and would have liked a translation somewhere. An interesting journey about a family trying to achieve the American dream.
Date published: 2011-09-02