New Clothes for New Year’s Day (ages 3-6) by Hyun-joo Bae – This is not an adoption book, but a great way to introduce Korean culture. This beautiful picture book shows a young Korean girl welcoming in the New Year in classic Koran style. It’s nice to have a book that features Korean New Year celebration rather than the Chinese New Year.
Bee-bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park. (ages 4-7) – Oh, I love this book, and not just because I love the dish. A busy Korean mom and her young daughter prepare bee bim bop for dinner. In addition to learning about a traditional Korean dish, you’ll also get a picture of Korean family life.
Babies Can’t Eat Kimchee! by Nancy Patz (ages 4-7) – This is the tale of a big sis and a new baby and has nothing to do with adoption. The big sister recites what she can do that the baby can’t. The family is Korean American and through the story you get to know more about Korean culture.
Asian Children’s Favorite Stories: A Treasury of Folktales from China, Japan, Korea, India, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia by David Conger, Patrick Yee, Marian Davies Toth, and Kay Lyons (ages 4-8) – A collection of 13 stories from several Asian countries. Note: a bear’s violent death is depicted in one of the tales.
The Land of the Dragon King and Other Korean Stories by Gillian McClure (ages 4-8) – Collection of nine Korean folk tales suitable for younger readers.
Land of Morning Calm: Korean Culture Then and Now by John Stickler (ages 7-teens) – This is the best culture book I’ve found for elementary age kids.
A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park (ages 9-12) – A story about an orphan girl raised in 12th century Korea.
When My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park (ages 9-12) – Two siblings search for and try to maintain their cultural identity in Japanese-occupied Korea.
Tales of a Korean Grandmother: 32 Traditional Tales from Korea by Frances Carpenter (ages 9-12) – Collection of traditional Korean folk tales.
Korean Children’s Favorite Stories by Kim So-Un and Jeong Kyoung-Sim (ages 9-12) – An older collection of thirteen Korean folk tales that contains new illustrations.
Dreaming a World: Korean Birth Mothers Tell Their Stories by Sangsoon Han (ages 12-adult) – A collection of stories from Korean Birth Mothers about their experience of giving up a child for adoption.
I Wish for You a Beautiful Life: Letters from the Korean Birth Mothers of Ae Ran Won to Their Children edited by Sara Dorow (ages 12-adult).
Voices from Another Place: A Collection of Works from a Generation Born in Korea and Adopted to Other Countries by Susan Soon-Keum Cox. This book is a collection of poetry, fiction, memoir, essay, photography and artwork by adult adoptees adopted from Korea to the US. This is not a children’s book, but would be appropriate for teens. It would be particularly powerful for parents and teen to read together. It shows a diversity of feeling and captures the experience of transracial/transcultural adoption from people who have lived the experience. As one adult adoptee said: “It was touching and heartbreaking and very healing for me.”
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