Picture books for Korean language beginners

Picture books are an excellent gateway for beginners to learn the Korean language and culture. Words are easy but poetic. Messages are simple but profound. Without much linguistic burden, readers can also encounter a wealth of vocabularies, metaphors, symbols, and literary expressions that are difficult to find in spoken languages. Compared with K-pop, K-drama, and K-films, not much attention has been given to K-picture books. There are some of the world’s best picture book authors who won numerous international awards. These are my first recommendations for ㅊㅊㅊ young adults worldwide.

『Moon Sherbet (달 샤베트)』

by Heena Baek (백희나)

On a hot summer night, all sleepless neighbors close their windows and turn on the air-conditioners and electric fans. They hear something dripping. It is the moon melt from the sky. Then there’s a sudden blackout. A wise grandma wolf starts to do something brilliant to cool off and light up the apartment. Neighbors help each other and finally get the moon back.
Heena Baek is the 2020 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award Laureate. Hand-crafted miniature figurines and background settings with meticulous details are her signatures. You can enjoy the fantasy world of Heena Baek while thinking about our planet Earth.

Other recommendations
I am a dog (나는 개다)
Magic Candies (알사탕)
The Bath Fairy (장수탕 선녀님)

Authors homepage

#picturebook #fantasy #rabbits_onthemoon_myth #Lindgren_award

『River (강이)』

by Suzy Lee (이수지)

River is a dog who once abandoned but adopted and loved by a family. This book traces the life of River like a diary. With just brisk black and white sketches, Suzy Lee creates nostalgic memories of a family dog and helps us fully understand the characters’ emotions. Blank margins and restrained words leave readers a lot to imagine and think.
Suzy Lee was the first Korean writer who short-listed for Hans Christian Andersen Awards. Try to read her new book, Dream of becoming water, worked with Korean singer-songwriter, Lucid Fall.

Other recommendations
Wave (파도야 놀자)
Lines (선)
Dream of becoming water (물이 되는 꿈)
Authors homepage

#picturebook #dog #poetic #SuzyLee’s_blue

『Grandma Flora (꽃할머니)』

by Yoonduck Kwon

If you want to learn Korean modern history, Yoonduck Kwon’s picture books are good starting points. Based on extensive research and in-depth interviews, she depicts people’s lives during and after tragic historical moments. Grama Flora is a story about a victim of sexual slavery during the Pacific War. This book tells not only past suffering but also peace, humanity, and solidarity. Inspired by Buddhist paintings and traditional Korean folk paintings, her style is distinctively unique.

Other recommendations
Manhee’s House (만희네 집)
Tools and Work (일과 도구)
Wooden Seal (나무 도장)
Sixteen (씩스틴)
Authors homepage

#picturebook #comfortwomen #PacificWar #history #criticism_of_Imperialism


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