On September 30, in the midst of torrential rains and flash flooding in the city, I still managed to get in from the island to hang an exhibit of illustrations in the Children’s Room of Portland Public Library.
The exhibit, “Picturing New Neighbors,” features selected original artwork from these four books, all of which feature immigrant children:
My stellar intern, Caitlyn Hubbard, made the whole day work; I never would have made it without her. Thanks, Katie!
The exhibit will be up through November, and will culminate with a November 19th reception and workshop, “‘That’s My Story!’ Images of Immigrant Children in Picture Books,” for teachers, librarians, parents and community members.
Once again I participated in a National Association of Korean Schools teachers conference – the second in a week – this one the New England chapter, in North Andover, MA. (It’s a complete coincidence that I did them back-to-back; this invitation came through another Korean acquaintance.) Annual gatherings like the two I attended offer teachers (mostly volunteers) from across a region the chance to connect and to gain new knowledge, skills and inspiration to improve the effectiveness of their instruction.
My presentation (in Korean again, but this one benefited from last week’s warm-up) focused on using books in Korean language school classrooms to help children absorb culture, strengthening their connection to Korea and their bicultural identities. I featured two of my titles, The Legend of Hong Kil Dong: The Robin Hood of Korea, and What Will You Be, Sara Mee? by Kate Aver Avraham, which I illustrated, as examples of how books can be used, and shared a list of titles, most by Korean American authors, for further exploration.
Some recommended books on Korean culturePreschool – 2nd gradeBae, Hyun-Ju, New Clothes for New Year’s DayPark, Linda Sue, Bee-bim Bop!Schoettler, Joan, Good Fortune in a Wrapping ClothOlder Elementary (3rd-6th grade)Park, Linda Sue, A Single Shard; Seesaw Girl; The Kite Fighters; & Archer’s QuestMiddle/High SchoolKim Dong Hwa, The Color of Earth, The Color of Water, and The Color of Heaven (graphic novels)
Some recommended books on the Korean American experiencePreschool – 2nd gradePark, Frances, Good-Bye, 382 Shin Dang DongOlder Elementary (3rd-6th grade)Han, Jenny, Clara Lee and the Apple Pie DreamYoo, Paula, Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee StoryMiddle/High SchoolLee, Marie G., Necessary Roughness & Finding My VoiceNa, An, Wait for MeWoo, Sung J., Everything AsianYoo, David, Girls for BreakfastYoo, Paula, Good EnoughQuestions for discussion:How are the characters like you? Different from you?How was being Korean an asset for the character? A challenge?Did you learn anything cool about Korean culture or about being Korean?
At her invitation, I joined my friend, Dr. Agnes Ahn, one of the founders and program coordinators of the Korea Studies Workshop at University of MA Lowell, for a whirlwind trip to Philadelphia this weekend.
Agnes and I keynoted at the National Association of Korean Schools, Mid-Atlantic Chapter meeting. We each shared an overview of our life stories and our work: on Agnes’ mission to get Korea and Korean history into the Common Core, and on my book, The Legend of Hong Kil Dong: The Robin Hood of Korea, as a tool to explore Korean history, culture and positive bicultural identity.
Saturday night I landed in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, the first (22-hr!) leg of a trip that will also take me to China and Malaysia.
As we leave Children’s Book Week, here’s an appreciation of children’s librarians, the world over.
One of my March school visits was particularly memorable because of extraordinary efforts of librarians to engage their students in my work before I arrived.
Brent Subic Library staff (left to right): Riza Bamba (elementary library assistant), Angelo Fernandez (middle school librarian), me, Debbie Kienzle (Brent International School head librarian), Rose Austria (lower school librarian).
At Brent International School Subic in the Philippines, Rose and Angelo put my books on display, put up welcoming banners, and read my work to their students.
Riza, who’d never been part of an author visit before, worked with the 4th and 5th graders to create the most amazing display of creative projects in response to my work that I’ve ever seen. She first went online to research what kinds of projects other schools had produced. She googled “author visits,” looked at Pinterest, and gathered examples to give students ideas of what was possible.
The students, in small teams of 3-5 students, used 2 library periods per week for more than a month, plus free time – a total of 10-15 hours on each project. They did online research about me and my books, then used their imaginations to craft incredibly original and delightful projects demonstrating their knowledge, including…
The result of this extraordinary investment of time, energy and creativity was palpable in the students’ response to meeting me. When the 4th-5th graders came into the auditorium for their workshop, they were bursting with excitement. It felt as if there was already a deep bond between us, as if I was theirs. What an honor and a delight to spend time with them!Read More
Catching up on my spring: back in March, my second Southeast Asia stop was the Philippines, where I visited the three campuses of Brent International School. It was fascinating to experience the differences between the schools, from Subic’s 200 students (80% Korean) in a building on a former U.S. military base, to Baguio’s hillside cluster of buildings with 300 students (60% Korean), to Manila’s student body of more-than-1000 diverse students from all over the world.
and students were very excited by autographing.
Then back down the mountain and across the plain, driving through Manila and to the southern suburbs…
to the main campus of Brent Manila.
Throughout, I was accompanied by librarian extraordinaire Debbie Kienzle, and welcomed so warmly and graciously by her library staff, the schools’ personnel and students, and the Filipinos I met everywhere we traveled.Read More