Countdown to 2011: My #2 Post, Top 10: Korean American Children’s Books

Countdown of My Top Posts

Top 10: Korean American Children’s Books (ages 2-16) UPDATED2, 852 page views

My kids are a “mixed plate” as they would say in Hawaii.  They are a quarter Chinese, a quarter Japanese, and half Korean.  My husband is from Korea, though he came over to the U.S. as a young boy and is so assimilated he can barely order food in Korean at a Korean restaurant.  I, myself, had never had Korean food until college but what a revelation it was! Now it’s one of my favorites!

I’ve learned a lot about Korean culture from marrying a Korean boy:

  • Koreans are the “Irish” of Asia:  They like to fight, drink and are melancholic like their Irish Brethren.
  • Koreans are, by and large, feisty.  My husband says that centuries of domination will do that to you!
  • And yet, despite decades of domination, the Korean culture has not just survived but thrived.

I had spent the better part of a year combing the picture books at my public library both to boost my oldest’s reading ability and  worked my way through Kathleen Odean’s Great Books for Girls.  I’d basically go through the shelves alphabetically searching through hundreds of books at each library visit.  Whenever I ran into an Asian author, I’d pull the book and check it out and so discovered Sook Nyul Choi.  Other books on my list were gifts from a Mom Friend who gave us Where On Earth is My Bagel because both her maiden name and my husband’s last name are featured in the book.  (There are not that many Korean surnames, as it turns out!).  My husband, too, found some of them.  He bought Bee-Bim-Bop!, at a children’s clothing boutique because it was Korean.  That’s the thing about Koreans in general, there are just enough of them here to create a sub-culture that preserves their heritage, but not enough that it’s ubiquitous.  It’s the same in children’s literature, I had to really dig to find the first 10 books and finding a new one is still an exciting discovery!

This was my first Top 10 list EVER!  Many thanks to my Mom Friend, Sarah, giftor of Where On Earth is My Bagel.  I know that she single-handedly sent this post viral when she emailed it to every person on the planet with a drop of Korean blood in them.

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom

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