On Events & Presentations 

Activity Guide from Island Readers & Writers

Posted by on Sep 18, 2017 in Novel: In the Shadow of the Sun, Novel: Tools for Educators, On Events & Presentations , On Other Resources for Educators | Comments Off on Activity Guide from Island Readers & Writers

In October I’ll be traveling from my own Maine island to make author visits at three schools on the islands of Islesboro, North Haven and VinalHaven, hosted by Island Readers & Writers (IRW).

In preparation, IRW has created this wonderful activity guide for In the Shadow of the Sun, including discussion questions, art and writing prompts, companion titles and resources for further exploration.

Here’s one prompt:

Write up a pack list of items you would bring with you on a harrowing trek through the North Korean countryside. Based on Mia and Simon’s experiences, what would be some of the most important supplies to have?

 

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October 24 Event: “North Korea: The Stories Behind the Conflict”

Posted by on Sep 7, 2017 in Novel: In the Shadow of the Sun, Novel: North Korea, On Events & Presentations  | Comments Off on October 24 Event: “North Korea: The Stories Behind the Conflict”

Date: Tuesday, October 24 – 6:00pm – 7:00pm

Location: Rines Auditorium, Portland Public Library, Portland, Maine

Audience: Adults, Teens

North Korea: The Stories Behind the Conflict

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“To Recognize the Humanity of the Other”: Korean Consulate Book Talk

Posted by on Sep 7, 2017 in Author's Korean Connections, Novel: In the Shadow of the Sun, Novel: North Korea, On Events & Presentations  | Comments Off on “To Recognize the Humanity of the Other”: Korean Consulate Book Talk

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On Thursday, August 24, Consular General Song Jun Ohm hosted a Book Talk featuring In the Shadow of the Sun, at the Korean Consulate in Newton, MassachusettsAn audience representing the Korean American community of Boston, including academics, activists, business people, policy analysts, and others with deep interest in North Korea, were invited to share their expertise and reflections. In his opening remarks, Consul General Ohm said,
 

As a diplomat, my interest in [Anne’s] novel is about the promotion of understanding Korea and North Korea among Americans… Questions arise such as why North Korea is obsessed with nuclear weapon; why North Korea is attempting to make threats directly to the United States; what is the origin of North Korean hostility to the United States, etc.

I suggest that we need to see the North Korean people as human beings and see them differently and separate from the dictator and his subordinates. This novel provides me with the new and fresh perspective, because South Koreans also need to understand North Koreans better, and that will be possible when they meet by people to people, not when they see solely through news media or official channel.

I gave a short talk about my childhood in South Korea, the inspiration for the novel, the process of writing it, and the ways in which empathy for the people of North Korea gradually became my focus. Wellesley English professor Yu Jin Ko and Reverend Sung-hyuk Kim followed with reflections on themes in the novel, with Professor Ko emphasizing that “to recognize the humanity of the other” must be the basis for reunification. Audience members responded with their own observations on the importance of a “human-centric” approach to North Korea.

I was deeply honored and humbled by the event, and felt buoyed by the foundation of guidance and support as I communicate the themes of the novel to a wider audience.

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Picturing New Neighbors

Posted by on Oct 2, 2015 in Author's Other Korean Books, On Events & Presentations  | Comments Off on Picturing New Neighbors

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Anne Sibley O’Brien Immigration Illustration Exhibit

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.

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Story First: Using Children’s Books to Explore Korean Culture & Identity

Posted by on Aug 30, 2015 in On Events & Presentations , On Korean Books & Culture, On Other Resources for Educators | Comments Off on Story First: Using Children’s Books to Explore Korean Culture & Identity

At the National Association of Korean Schools Teacher's Conference

At the National Association of Korean Schools Teacher’s Conference

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.

 

Korean schools usually meet on Saturdays or on Sunday afternoons after church, when Korean American families bring their children to study reading, writing and speaking as well as to learn more about Korean culture. The schools also attract families formed by interracial adoption or marriage, and a surprising new trend is non-Korean teens showing up motivated to learn the language based on their love of K-pop and anime!

It’s interesting to note the similarities in the two events: Korean churches as venues; a preponderance among teachers of recent immigrants whose first language is Korean, rather than 2nd- or 3rd-generation members; and opening with the singing of both the “Ae-guk-ga” – the Korean national anthem, and “The Star- Spangled Banner”. These traits seem typical of that segment of the Korean American community whose adult members are foreign-born; it’s Korean-language-based, centers around Protestant churches, and claims both Korean and American allegiance.
 

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 culture
Preschool – 2nd grade
Bae, Hyun-Ju, New Clothes for New Year’s Day
Park, Linda Sue, Bee-bim Bop!
Schoettler, Joan, Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth
Older Elementary (3rd-6th grade)
Park, Linda Sue, A Single Shard; Seesaw Girl; The Kite Fighters; & Archer’s Quest 
Middle/High School
Kim Dong Hwa, The Color of Earth, The Color of Water, and The Color of Heaven  (graphic novels)

Some recommended books on the Korean American experience
Preschool – 2nd grade
Park, Frances, Good-Bye, 382 Shin Dang Dong
Older Elementary (3rd-6th grade)
Han, Jenny, Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream
Yoo, Paula, Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story
Middle/High School
Lee, Marie G., Necessary Roughness & Finding My Voice
Na, An, Wait for Me 
Woo, Sung J., Everything Asian
Yoo, David, Girls for Breakfast
Yoo, Paula, Good Enough 
 
Questions 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? 
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More Korean Connections

Posted by on Aug 23, 2015 in On Events & Presentations , On Korean Books & Culture | Comments Off on More Korean Connections

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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 Koreaas a tool to explore Korean history, culture and positive bicultural identity.

The Legend of Hong Kil Dong

 

 We had a warm and enthusiastic response from this delightful group of people – and a delicious Korean box lunch before we were whisked back to the airport to fly back to Boston.

 

 

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