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Banned Book Club

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  115 ratings  ·  61 reviews
When Kim Hyun Sook started college in 1983 she was ready for her world to open up. After acing her exams and sort-of convincing her traditional mother that it was a good idea for a woman to go to college, she looked forward to soaking up the ideas of Western Literature far from the drudgery she was promised at her familys restaurant. But literature class would prove to be ...more
Paperback, 204 pages
Expected publication: April 21st 2020 by Iron Circus Comics
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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Now THIS is a graphic memoir I want to put in everybody's hands. It's such an important one! It's important to learn about history, and not just about your own country's. It's important to learn about what happened and what is still going on in the world. This graphic memoir does this so brilliantly. It talks about fighting for democracy, fighting for what is right, fighting every single day because there's always something to work on. The fact that I also absolutely adored the art made this ...more
Kate (
Thanks to Iron Circus Comic and Edelweiss for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I loved this comic so much I swallowed it in one sitting. I'm always moved when authors take history and bring it to a level that people can easily read and understand. This story follows Hyun Sook as she leaves for college against her parents wishes. While at college, she gets sucked into a secret banned book club led by a group of student protestors.

I appreciated everything about this book. The story
Rachel Hyland
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am ashamed to say I knew next to nothing about South Korean politics before reading this most excellent graphic novel -- just that once the nation was under the thumb of China, and that the US waged a war there in the 1950s, fighting against the communist regime in the north.

It did not go well.

But this account of the naive Hyun Sook, newly at university in 1983 and learning about her own nation's political travails for the first time, changed all of that. In just 200 or so short, informative
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a lovely way to experience history. This book takes multiple real life stories to give the reader a fictionalized true version of the protests in 1983 lead by college students. Most of it is the story of the author, but for privacy reason has changed many names and consolidated some stories.

It all starts with the government banning certain literature. Particularly Western literature. Kim wants to read these stories. She wants to study literature. But her mother is not happy. She should be
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc-reviews
ARC given by NetGalley for Honest Review

Banned Book Club is definitely a story of our time while being told about the past. In the political climate of today's world this is an incredible look back to a time of censorship and fascism in Korea. Hyun Sook is invited to join a banned book club and while apprehensive at first she realizes over time that being apathetic about politics can be more detrimental than not. Her and her friends use her colleges tools and clubs as means to secretly defy the
M.L. Little
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
@kidlitexchange Partner: Banned Book Club by @ironcircus and @ryanestradadotcom. Releases TODAY! Happy book birthday! 📚 🎂
Banned Book Club is an autobiographical graphic novel (Ive always loved that concept) by Kim Hyon Sook. Suitable for high school or college students, Banned Book Club describes Hyon Sooks experiences as a college student during President Chuns era in South Korea. A literature student, Hyon Sook quickly found herself swept up into the political fervor of college, joining a
delph ✨
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Find my full review on my blog: here

An e-ARC was provided by the publisher through Edelweiss+ in exchange of an honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.

There are a bunch of book I want people to read. First, the books I love so much and mean everything to me. Then, books like BANNED BOOK CLUB. I mean, its not my favorite book ever but its a book everybody should read because its an important one, because we should know more about history and what happened even if it didnt
A quick but very affective read! Banned Book Club is a manhwa (Korean comic) memoir following Kim Hyun Sook, who began attending university in South Korea in 1983 intending to stick to studying, but got drawn into political protest through a banned book club instead.

Not knowing much about Korean history, all of the events contained in this book were new to me, but the authors did a great job of explaining the key points to understand the plot. The Korean political climate as shown here reminded
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
With beautiful art and a compelling story, I learned so much about the protests for freedom in South Korea. Compared to their northern neighbors, SK always seems like such a delightful and progressive place, but this story showed me that they also have struggles and challenges, rights to fight for and battles to wage. It makes me feel better about my own screwed up country to know that other high profile and wealthy nations have issues, too. Hyun Sook does a great job telling her own story ...more
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I started college in 1982, one year before Kim Hyun Sook. Our college experiences were totally different. On the other side of the world, she was working with fellow students to effect change in her country. Her story is amazing. The narrative was interesting and fast paced. I finished the book in a little over an hour. There is so much I never knew about the political situation in South Korea. This book really opened my eyes to a world so different from my own. It is a must-read, and I highly ...more
Jul 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels, 2019
DANG I had no idea this shizz was going on in South Korea! I thought they were the SANE Korea! So, very historically enlightening, but I apparently do not like manga style. Gave it a shot and it bothered me the whole time. BUT I learned a lot!
Sep 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, read-in-2019
A great blend of manga, history, and political protests! Also, a great book to kick off September with since Banned Book Week is later this month.
Many thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for providing me with a free DRC in exchange for an honest review.

Ok. Lets first just talk about the front cover and the title. The bookworm in me could not resist. When I read the summary I was intrigued. However, I must admit before reading this amazing graphic novel I knew very little about South Korean politics.

This nonfiction tale follows Hyun Sook as she leaves home to pursue her dream of attending college, against her mothers wishes. After
This is a strong historical memoir of a girl trying to keep her head down and get a university education in a Korea that does not value women or free-thinkers, and seemingly torn apart by riots. Pulled in two different directions by her traditional mother and her new school friends she must step carefully as she follows a path that leads to a more democratic Korea.

This is a Young Adult title, with talk and images of torture and hints of rape as a form of torture. This is not a book for
Thanks to the publisher for a providing me with a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Kim Hyun Sook is starting college in 1983 in South Korea, and her life is about to change. An innocent-sounding Book Club is actually a group of rebel activists determined to change South Korea. Though she knows the dangers of getting involved, it soon becomes clear what the stakes are, and she knows that she has to do something.

This brave graphic novel is a remarkable little
Kate Waggoner
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-read

Thank you to @ironcircus and @ryanestradadotcom for sharing an advance copy of the young adult graphic novel Banned Book Club by Kim Hyun Sook with the #kidlitexchange network. This book will be published on February 18, 2020. All opinions are my own.

It's 1983 and Kim Hyun Sook is a freshman at university in South Korea during the regime of the Fifth Republic. It is a period of censorship, torture, and the murder of protesters. She finds refuge in reading and joins a book club
Carro Herdegen
Feb 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: kiss-the-book
Language: PG (2 swears, 0 f); Mature Content: PG13; Violence: PG13
All Hyun Sook wants is to go to college and continue her education. With protests all over the campus, her mom tries to get her to stay home by saying its too dangerous to go. Nevertheless, Hyun Sook enrolls in classes and even looks into extracurricular activities -- only a week into classes, she finds the most important lessons outside the classroom.
While the story is based on true events during South Koreas military regime in
Mar 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was given an ARC of this Graphic Novel by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was an interesting read about how a group of students stood up against an unjust and corrupted government. A government aimed at keeping their population ignorant and under their thumb. Where people in power, even teachers, abused it. How parents can be fearful of new opportunities for their kids that they did not have. How encouragement can shape a child's future. How friendship and a sense of community
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received a free copy of this graphic memoir from the publisher via #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Im not normally a fan of graphic novels but this one quickly pulled me into this true story. The story had a good pace and the illustrations really fit with the story.
I had spent some timing living and working in South Korea so I had some background knowledge on South Korean history. But this graphic novel had me searching the internet looking for more information on the events in
Montgomery Pierce
Mar 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-reads, arc-reads
This was a fantastic, quick read that packed a lot into the short story that it told. We don't often see stories about South Korea, specifically like those that Kim Hyun Sook has told, and though this is a story that comes from the tumultuousness of 1980's South Korea, there is so much to learn and absorb from Huyn Sook's time at college, the themes of anti-establishment, the conversations surrounding the banning of books or the limiting of the kinds of books we're allowing people to read. These ...more
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Graphic memoir was the perfect medium for this. The art style was beautiful and flowed so well from page to page. I think this is a great introduction to contemporary South Korean history, especially for audiences that are ignorant of the country's history of protest and oppression. The present day tie-in was also really well done, and it managed to maintain a feeling of hope while still being realistic. Given the political climate that it happening in what seems to be every single country these ...more
J Mccarragher
Mar 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: kidlitexchange
@kidlitexchange #partner Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the
review copy of this book - all opinions are my own.

While Banned Book Club by Kim Hyun Sook is a history lesson in and of itself, I am not a fan of graphic novels, so even though the story is informative and a necessary tale, the format is not my favorite. That being said, I could see this having a huge appeal for the upper middle grades and high school students, especially those who like a fast read with a good history
I had no clue about South Korea's history so this was fascinating to me! I picked it up solely based on the title, and was surprised/amazed by the content as it was not what I was expecting. South Korea was under a fascist rule in the early 80s, and this is Kim Hyun Sook's autobiographical graphic novel on her freshman year of college - when she discovered just how limiting her government was, and somewhat inadvertently got involved in the protests against it. When all she wanted was to be able ...more
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This graphic novel reminded me again about our past, present and uncertain future in regards to being able to speak your mind. Freedom of speech should never be something we take for granted because sometimes history repeats itself. The story of Hyun Sook was a scary one, but also an important tale about reading what you want, saying what you want and living the life YOU choose for yourself. I read this in one sitting and will be recommending it to many students when it comes out. Thank you ...more
Lindsey Weaver
Mar 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was an engaging graphic novel that highlighted South Korea's military control during the 1980s. I really appreciated Kim Hyun Sook's storytelling around this moment in history and how she navigated through college and found her voice during this time of unrest. Definitely adding this title to my library's graphic novel collection.

I received a digital ARC of this from Edelweiss.
Mar 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs, gn
In this memoir Kim Hyun Sook tells her story of going to college in South Korea in 1983, a time of strict totalitarian rule. Sook just wants to read and stay out of trouble, but it finds her anyway. The story speaks to protest as a way of living, reading as rebellion, and how politics is involved with us whether we want to be involved or not.

Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Really engaging book with an important message. Efforts to ban books are seldom about the books themselves, but the ideas available therein. Ideas, left unchecked, are dangerous. We must push back on that notion.
Apr 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I think the title confused me about what this graphic novel was supposed to be about. After getting past 94 pages I began to see the story take shape and form. I'm happy with the end result. I really liked this true story and am glad to be educated about this aspect of Korean history.
Amanda Lee
Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Good political graphic novel set in North Korea. Interesting history and applicable to todays politics. ...more
Rachel Knuttel
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for a review copy of this book - all opinions are my own.

This wonderful graphic novel memoir releases FEBRUARY 18, 2020!

As soon as I saw the title of this one, I snapped it up! I have always been fascinated and confused by the banning of books. I know many students feel the same way, given the chance to learn about them! This story takes the idea of banned books in a new direction for me and talks about the TRUE STORY of the author, who accidentally ended
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