Archer’s Quest. Park, Linda Sue. Clarion Books, 2006. ISBN: 9780618596317. In Dorchester, New York, Kevin is doing his homework when suddenly an arrow comes out of nowhere and pins his baseball cap to the wall. The man who shot the arrow claims he fell off a tiger… and wound up in Kevin’s room. It’s not long before Kevin realizes that the man, who calls himself Chu-mong, or Great Archer, is no ordinary burglar, but a traveler from far away in both space and time. Kevin knows little about his own Korean heritage, but he understands that unless Archer returns to his people and his throne, history will be changed forever. This is a funny and suspenseful adventure incorporating intriguing bits of Korean history and lore.
Bee-bim Bop! Park, Linda Sue. Lee, Ho Baek, Ill. Clarion Books, 2005. ISBN: 9780618265114. Bee-bim Bop (the name translates as “mix-mix rice”) is a traditional Korean dish. In rhyming text, a hungry child tells of helping her mother make bee-bim bop: shopping, preparing ingredients, setting the table, and finally sitting down with her family to enjoy a favorite meal. The energy and enthusiasm of the young narrator are conveyed in the whimsical illustrations, which bring details from the artist’s childhood in Korea to his depiction of a modern Korean American family. The author’s recipe is included.
Biting Nails. Ko, Tae-Young. Kim, Young Jin, Ill. GilbutKid Publishing, 2008. ISBN: 9788955820805. In this engaging story, Ji Won has a nail biting habit, which is causing her trouble at home and at school. Her mother promises new color pencils if she will stop biting her nails, but it’s hard to break this habit. When her brother finds out that his sister will receive a gift, he starts biting his nails as well. With mom’s wise help both are able to stop biting their nails. Written in Korean.
Cloud Bread. Baek, Hee-na. Hansol Gyoyuk, 2007. ISBN: 9788953538610. On a rainy morning, a small cloud was caught on a branch. The children held it carefully and brought it home to their mother. She put it in a big bowl and baked it into the cloud bread. When the children and their mother share the break, they float gently into the air. The children fly off to give the cloud bread to their father who was hurrying off to work. Translated from Korean. CD, language guide, and poster included.
Cookie, ᄀᄂᄃ ( Korean alphabet book). Park sang-Cheol. Yoon Jung-Joo Ill. Seoul: Yeo Woogohgae Publisher, 2006. ISBN: 9788995302866. The process of making cookies teaches how to make the letters of the Korean (Hangul) alphabet. Children and animal friends use cookie dough to make different shapes that look like the Korean alphabet. With CD.
Days with Dad. Hong, Nari. Enchanted Lion Books, 2017. ISBN: 9781592702336. Based on experiences from author Nari Hong’s own childhood, Days With Dad is a heartwarming story of love and appreciation between a young girl and her dad, who uses a wheelchair. Narrated by the daughter, the story follows an ongoing conversation between the two about the father’s regret over what he is unable to do with his daughter because of his reliance on a wheelchair. But his daughter makes it clear that there’s nothing to feel badly about. Whether they’re sitting on the beach building a sandcastle or drinking hot cocoa and watching the rain, what she loves are the things they can do together.
Firekeeper’s Son. Park, Linda Sue. Downing, Julie, Ill. Clarion, 2004. ISBN: 9780618133376. In Korea in the early 1800s, news from the countryside reached the king by means of signal fires. On one mountaintop after another, a fire was lit when all was well. If the king did not see a fire, that meant trouble, and he would send out his army. Linda Sue Park’s first picture book is about Sang-hee, son of the village firekeeper. When his father is unable to light the fire one night, young Sang-hee must take his place. Sang-hee knows how important it is for the fire to be lit-but he wishes that he could see soldiers… just once. Historical notes are included.
Green Frogs: A Korean Folktale. Hemo, Yumi. HMH Books, 2004. ISBN: 9780618432288. Like most rebellious children, the green frogs in this Korean folktale love to disobey their mother. Whatever she asks them to do, they do the opposite… until their bad habit lands them in trouble.
In the Shadow of the Sun. O’Brien, Anne Sibley. Scholastic, 2017. ISBN: 9780545905749. North Korea is known as the most repressive country on Earth… not the best place for a family vacation. But, Mia Andrews finds herself on a tour with her aid-worker father and fractious older brother. Mia was adopted from South Korea as a baby, and the trip raises tough questions about where she really belongs. Then her dad is arrested for spying, just as forbidden photographs of North Korean slave-labor camps fall into Mia’s hands. The only way to save Dad: get the pictures out of the country. Mia and Simon set off on a harrowing journey to the border, without food, money, or shelter, in a land where anyone who sees them might turn them in, and getting caught could mean prison, or worse.
King’s Secret: The Legend of King Sejong. Farley, Carol. Jew, Robert, Ill. Lothrop Lee & Shepard, 2001. ISBN: 9780688127763. Wandering in his garden, King Sejong comes upon a young boy scratching in the sand with a stick. The boy tells the disguised monarch that his greatest wish is to learn to read and write, an impossible task for a lowly gardener in 15th-century Korea. The king knows that literacy is out of reach for most of his subjects since Koreans read and write in Chinese though they speak their own language. This legend tells the story of King Sejong’s determination to find an easy method to write his language and the invention of Hangul, the Korean phonetic alphabet.
Land of Morning Calm: Korean Culture Then and Now. Stickler, John C. Stickler, Soma Han, Ill. Shen’s Books, 2003. ISBN: 9781885008220. After a brief introduction to Korea’s geography and history, this illustrated book spotlights many aspects of the country’s culture. Presented on single pages and double-page spreads and illustrated with colorful paintings and photos, the 19 topics include the Korean alphabet, flag, religions, food, celebrations, martial arts, ceramics, and music.
Minji’s Salon. Choung, Eun-hee. Kane/Miller Books, 2008. ISBN: 9781933605678. When her mother goes to the beauty salon, Minji pretends to run a beauty salon of her own. Her dog is the first customer. One side of the page is Minji’s mother and the other side is Minji’s pretend salon. Translated from Korean.
My Cat Copies Me. Kwon, Yoon D. Kane/Miller Books, 2007. ISBN: 9781933605265. This book explores the special bond between children and their pets as a little girl and her very independent cat, play, hide, and comfort one another. Readers will appreciate how the cat soothes the little girl and silently encourages her to explore the bigger world and experience new things.
My Freedom Trip: A Child’s Escape from North Korea. Park, Frances and Park, Ginger. Jenkins, Debra Reid, Ill. Boyds Mills Press, 2010. ISBN: 9781590788264. This story of a child’s escape in the dark of night from North Korea to South Korea is based on memories of the author’s mother. Just prior to the outbreak of the Korean War, young Soo secretly crosses the 38th parallel, hoping to join her father on the other side. Because it is dangerous for more than one person to cross at a time, her mother waits behind. At every step there seems to be enemy soldiers, but the child remembers her mother’s words—”Be brave, Soo!” which continues to sustain her even years later. In spare and elegant prose, the authors tell a story of a young girl’s faith and courage.
New Bilingual Visual Dictionary (English/Korean). Turhan, Sedat. Milet Publishing, 2017. ISBN: 9781785088889. This dictionary provides an entertaining way for children to learn words in two languages. It features useful, everyday words that will help learners build their vocabulary. The words are grouped into subjects so that children can focus on one set of related words at a time.
New Clothes for New Year’s Day. Bae, Hyun-joo. Kane/Miller Books, 2007. ISBN: 9781933605296. The New Year is the start of everything new… Follow a young Korean girl as she dresses and prepares for celebrating the Lunar New Year (Seollal). The detailed illustrations show the process of putting on the traditional Korean Hanbok for the celebration.
New Year’s Clothing-Boy. Bae, Hyun-joo. Sakyejul Publishing, 2007. ISBN: 9788958281993. The New Year is the start of everything new… Follow a young Korean boy as he dresses and prepares for celebrating the Lunar New Year (Seollal). The detailed illustrations show the process of putting on the traditional Korean Hanbok for the celebration. Written in Korean.
No Way Subway. Ko, T. Y. & Kim, Y. J. Gil Beoteorinyi Publishers, 2006. ISBN: 9788955820461. A little boy and his older sister ride a subway to go to their grandparents’ house. It’s their first time to ride a train without a grown-up. The big sister feels so much responsibility, yet the baby brother doesn’t listen to her. His impulsive behavior worries his big sister. After they arrive in their grandmother’s house, the sister bursts with her tension. The dramatic illustrations will appeal to young children. Korean text with CD.
Rabbit and the Dragon King: Based on a Korean Folktale. San Souci, Daniel. Neilan, Eujin Kim, Ill. Boyds Mills Press, 2006. ISBN: 9781590784181. The dragon rules the ocean deep and all its creatures. He is a great king – but an even greater hypochondriac. Though his physician can find neither cause nor cure for his latest ailment, the king believes he is not long for this world. After consulting with his court magician, the king is convinced that eating the heart of a rabbit will cure what ails him. Turtle volunteers to swim ashore and trick a rabbit into visiting the undersea palace. When the rabbit comes face-to-face with the dragon king and learns her fate, she shows that she has a few tricks of her own. Daniel San Souci’s retelling finds new riches in an ancient tale that was recorded as early as A.D. 642 during Korea’s Shila Dynasty.
Single Shard. Park, Linda Sue. Dell Yearling, 2003. ISBN: 9780440418511. In this Newbery Medal-winning book set in 12th century Korea, Tree-ear, a 13-year-old orphan, lives under a bridge in Ch’ulp’o, a potters’ village famed for delicate celadon ware. He has become fascinated with the potter’s craft; he wants nothing more than to watch master potter Min at work, and he dreams of making a pot of his own someday. When Min takes Tree-ear on as his helper, Tree-ear is elated — until he finds obstacles in his path: the backbreaking labor of digging and hauling clay, Min’s irascible temper, and his own ignorance. But Tree-ear is determined to prove himself — even if it means taking a long, solitary journey on foot to present Min’s work in the hope of a royal commission… even if it means arriving at the royal court with nothing to show but a single celadon shard.
Something for School. Lee, Hyun Young. Kane Miller, 2008. ISBN: 9781933605852. On the first day of kindergarten, a teacher asks the boys and girls to line up, and Yoon lines up with the other girls. But when some children mistake Yoon for a boy because of her short hair, Yoon decides to find a solution. She takes her sister’s red headband, which causes another problem. Translated from Korean.
Sori’s Harvest Moon Day: A Story of Korea. Lee, Uk-bae. Sound Prints, 1999. ISBN: 9781568996875. Sori is excited about leaving the city and traveling to her grandmother’s village for the celebration of the harvest moon. Every year the whole family gathers together for the ancient traditions, including dancing at Pung-Mul, the folk festival. Sori’s grandmother prepares delicious food for the holiday, with fruit and freshly harvested rice. Sori falls asleep on the way home, dreaming of her grandmother and waiting for next year.
Sun and Moon. Song, Jae-Chan. Lee, Jong-Mee, Ill. Goohk Min Suh Gwan Publishing, 2004. ISBN: 9788911023639. One day, a tiger confronts a mother on her way from work. Each time they meet, she gives him a piece of rice cake, and when she runs out of rice cake, the tiger swallows her. The tiger disguises himself as the mother, and heads to her house. The children knew there was something wrong, discovered that this was a tiger – not their mother. They worked together to trick the tiger, and climbed a tree to get away. Just as they were running out of room, they asked “Dear Sky, please send us a strong, new rope.” and before the tiger caught them, the rope appeared. The children climbed the rope and became the sun and the moon. This is a Korean version of Little Red Riding Hood and is also a pourquoi for the creation of the sun and moon. Written in Korean – translation in the Resource Notebook. With CD.
Tap Dancing on the Roof. Park, Linda Sue. Banhyai, Istvan, Ill. Clarion, 2007. ISBN: 9780618234837. A sijo, a traditional Korean verse form, has a fixed number of stressed syllables and a humorous or ironic twist at the end. Like haiku, sijo are brief and accessible, and the witty last line winds up each poem with a surprise. The verses in this book illuminate funny, unexpected, amazing aspects of the everyday—of breakfast, thunder and lightning, houseplants, tennis, freshly laundered socks. Carefully crafted and deceptively simple, Linda Sue Park’s sijo are a pleasure to read and an irresistible invitation to experiment with an unfamiliar poetic form.
Very Hungry Caterpillar (Korean). Carle, Eric. Deo Keun/Tsai Fong Books, 2008. ISBN: 9788970983554. This is the traditional story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar that tells readers about the life of a caterpillar from egg to butterfly. This book teaches first words in Korean in a story format that teaches the days of the week, numbers and counting, and names of some foods. In Korean with CD.
Very Hungry Caterpillar (English). Carle, Eric. Puffin, 2002. ISBN: 9780140569322. This is the traditional story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar that tells readers about the life of a caterpillar from egg to butterfly. This book teaches first words in a story format that teaches the days of the week, numbers and counting, and names of some foods.
Waiting for Mama. Tae-Jun, Lee. Dong-Seong, Kim, Ill. NorthSouth Books, 2007. ISBN: 9780735821439. Told in a few lines of text, this tender story was first published in a newspaper in 1938. This tale from Korea is universal–a small child waits for Mama at the station, asking the conductor if he has seen her. The conductor hasn’t, but cautions the child to wait a little farther from the tracks. It is cold and snowy but the child waits patiently until finally Mama comes. In the last wordless spread, we see the small hand in a mother’s firm clasp as they walk away. In English and Korean.
When My Name was Keoko. Park, Linda Sue. Yearling, 2004. ISBN: 9780440419440. With national pride and occasional fear, a brother and sister face the increasingly oppressive occupation of Korea by Japan during World War II, which threatens to suppress Korean culture entirely. The fact that Korea was colonized by Japan during World War II is not well known in the United States. This book broadens the historical context around World War II and also helps to develop cultural awareness through two Korean protagonists who resist taking on Japanese identity. Korean culture is well illustrated through the strong gender and family relationship hierarchy, social oppression, acceptance, sibling dynamics, and cultural identity.
While We Were Out. Lee, H. B. Kane/Miller, 2003. ISBN: 9781929132447. An open patio door gives a pet rabbit a once-in-a-lifetime chance to explore an apartment while the family’s away. She enjoys all the comforts of human life, including a well-stocked fridge, popcorn and a video, dressing up, a good book, toys to play with, and finally a snooze in a warm bed. The uninvited guest wakes in time to retreat to the terrace, closing the door, innocently hoping her little visit will remain undetected. English Edition.
While We Were Out. Lee, H. B. Kane/Miller, 2003. ISBN: 9788986565331. An open patio door gives a pet rabbit a once-in-a-lifetime chance to explore an apartment while the family’s away. She enjoys all the comforts of human life, including a well-stocked fridge, popcorn and a video, dressing up, a good book, toys to play with, and finally a snooze in a warm bed. The uninvited guest wakes in time to retreat to the terrace, closing the door, innocently hoping her little visit will remain undetected. Korean Edition.
Yellow Umbrella. Liu, Jae-Soo. Kane/Miller Books, 2002. ISBN: 9781929132362. This wordless book presents a birds-eye view of colorful umbrellas carried by children on a rainy walk to school. Originally published in South Korea it has 15-track music CD attached to the book. Liu studied Oil Painting in college & graduate school and now teaches picture books in Seoul City University. Sheen majored in Composition in Korea and New York University. CD is included.
Zoo. Lee, Suzy. Kane/Miller Books, 2007. ISBN: 9781933605289. A small girl’s visit to the zoo is very different from the one her parents experience in this witty tale of few words. A little girl begins, “I went to the zoo with my mom and dad,” then lists the various animals they visit. The pictures, however, tell another story. Somber gray and dark-blue-toned illustrations depict humans looking into empty cages. The girl darts away, following a peacock into a colored landscape. As her frightened parents search for her, the child plays with an increasing assortment of vividly hued animals before she is found sleeping on a bench. Suzy Lee was born in Seoul, Korea and is an award-winning artist and illustrator who graduated from Seoul National University.