All About Adolescent Literacy

All about adolescent literacy. Resources for parents and educators of kids in grades 4-12.
AddThis Social Bookmark Button
email this article Email  
Text Size: A A A  

A video interview with

Linda Sue Park

View Transcript

Bio

Linda Sue Park, Korean American author of children's fiction, has been an avid reader and writer her entire life. In fact, she began poetry and story writing before kindergarten – at the age of four. Growing up outside of Chicago, one could often find this notorious bookworm grazing the pages of Nancy Drew, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and E. L. Konigsburg. At the age of nine, Park had her first publication – a haiku – in Trailblazer magazine. She received a one dollar check for her hard work, which she gave to her father for Christmas. To this day, the un-cashed check is still framed above his desk.

Park advanced through school with several other publications. She attended Stanford University, where she earned a degree in English and competed on the gymnastics team. Upon graduation, she was a public relations writer for a major oil company. Although it was an outlet to write, she was not satisfied with her profession. However, it taught her how to be more of a professional writer.

Two years later, Linda Sue Park and her future husband packed their bags and moved to Dublin, and later to London. In Europe, she earned advanced degrees in literature at Trinity College and the University of London. Happily married with two children, Park worked at an advertising agency, then became an ESL teacher to college students, and later worked as a food journalist. Throughout her busy life and many job changes, her love of writing flourished.

Park's husband's career relocated the family to the United States, where she continued to teach ESL – something she still does to this day. She also had this great idea of writing her first children's book – Seesaw Girl. Her work mainly focuses on historical fiction. Seesaw Girl, Kite Fighters, A Single Shard (2002 Newbery Medal winner), Project Mulberry, Bee-Bim Bop, and Archer's Quest all delve in to the Korean culture and history – embroidery, kite fighting, celadon pottery, silkworms, and Korean food.

Selected Books

from Linda Sue Park


A Single Shard

Age Level: 9-12

Tree Ear, a homeless orphan, longs to work as a potter, a respected but competitive employment — especially for a boy who lives under a bridge. Set in 12th century Korea, this Newbery Medal winning novel is as relevant as if it were taking place today.

Buy A Single Shard


Archer's Quest

Age Level: 9-12

Chu-Mong, legendary leader of ancient Korea, suddenly appears — in the flesh! — in 12-year old Kevin's bedroom in his contemporary Dorcester, New York, home. Humor and tension build as ancient and modern come together in order to get Chu-Mong back to his own time and to take his rightful place in history.

Buy Archer's Quest


Kite Fighters

Age Level: 9-12

It takes great skill to be a kite fighter as Kee-sup and Young-sup know well. The brothers have different talents; the older boy makes kites easily while Young-sup flies them with a sure hand. Loyalty, tradition and rivalry between the boys are themes in this riveting novel set in 15th century Korea.

Buy Kite Fighters


Seesaw Girl

Age Level: 9-12

Jade longs to see the world beyond the walls of her family's household. But Jade lives in 17th century Korea, where girls and women are restricted. When she figures out a way to get to the outside world, Jade's observations and experiences reveal a different time and place, but also dreams and wishes that contemporary readers will recognize.

Buy Seesaw Girl


When My Name Was Keoko

Age Level: 12-14

Siblings Sun-hee and Tae-yul take turns narrating this story of Japan's occupation of Korea during WWII. As the occupation intensifies, Koreans are forced to change their names and forbidden from speaking their language, and members of the Kim family struggle to retain their personal and cultural identities.

Buy When My Name Was Keoko


Project Mulberry

Age Level: 9-12

Free spirited Julia and her inquisitive friend Patrick are raising silk worms for the county fair — a project that's a little too 'Korean' for all-American Julia's tastes. The story, heavily influenced by first-generation American Park's youth, is framed by entertaining 'conversations' between author and protagonist. A fun and funny story about prejudice, acceptance, and how to find a good source of Mulberry leaves.

Buy Project Mulberry


Keeping Score

Age Level: 9-12

Nine year old Dodgers fan Maggie and firefighter Jim bond over their mutual love of baseball. When Jim is drafted and returns from Korea traumatized and barely responsive, Maggie is determined to bring him back to his old self. A sensitive and artful work about grief and hope.

Buy Keeping Score


A Long Walk to Water

Age Level: 9-12

When rebel soldiers attack his village in Sudan, 11-year-old Salva flees the violence, beginning a dangerous walk toward a crowded refugee camp in Ethiopia, then on to new life in Rochester, New York. Meanwhile, 12-year-old Nya spends her days in Sudan looking for scarce supplies of fresh water for her family. Based on the true story of Sudanese "Lost Boys" who came to the U.S. in the mid-1990s.

Buy A Long Walk to Water