The Hundred Choices Department Store

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It's 1944. The Pangs own The Hundred Choices Department Store, a thriving business in northern Korea that caters to wealthy Japanese. Thirteen-year-old Miyook Pang has spent two years serving in the war effort on behalf of Japan during the Japanese Occupation of her country. Miyook endures exhaustion and illness, but only when she is sent to work in the dreaded dye factory; a place deemed Hell's Chamber by her older brother, Hoon - does she experience spiritual death. It is here where she meets Song-ho, an orphaned boy, and unbeknownst to her, the brief encounter will prove fateful. When Japan loses the war, Russian soldiers capture her beloved hometown and The Hundred Choices Department Store, leaving the city in ruin. With the Korean War looming, Miyook must take a dangerous flight south, across the 38th parallel now guarded by the newly formed North Korean Army. Here, once again, she encounters Song-ho, an event that will change the course of her life. Reading age: 10-14 years.

The Royal Bee

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Based on a true story, The Royal Bee is an elegantly written tale that pays tribute to a young boy's courage and strength of character. Song-ho is a young Korean boy destined by birth to a life of poverty. Barred from going to school--only the sons of wealthy families could attend--he dreams of learning to read and write. Then one day he hears the sound of a school bell and follows it deep into the valley. There, the school master turns him away, but Song-ho's boldness and determination earn him a chance at gaining an education nevertheless. Dramatically illustrated with richly textured oil paintings, the story offers glimpses of daily life in Korea a century ago--for both the rich and the poor. Reading age: 5-8 years.

Goodbye, 382 Shin Dang Dong

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TEACHER'S PICK: A beautiful picture book with a reassuring message and multicultural appeal. Jangmi, a young Korean girl, can't bear the thought of leaving her home at 382 Shin Dang Dong and moving to America. This sensitive story follows Jangmi as she gradually adjusts to her new neighborhood in Massachusetts, meets a young friend and begins to fell comfortable once again. Reading age: 5-8 years.

My Freedom Trip: A Child's Escape from North Korea

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This deeply moving story of a child's escape in the dark of night from North Korea to South Korea is based on memories of the author's mother. Just prior to the outbreak of the Korean War, young Soo secretly crosses the 38th parallel, hoping to join her father on the other side. Because it is dangerous for more than one person to cross at a time, her mother waits behind. At every step there seems to be enemy soldiers, but the child remembers her mother's words—"Be brave, Soo!"—which continues to sustain her even years later. In spare and elegant prose, the authors tell a story of a young girl's faith and courage. Lustrous oil paintings capture precious moments when the family is together as well as the frightening danger of the journey in this NCSS/CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book. Reading age: 5-8 years.

Where On Earth is
My Bagel?

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No one knows how the idea of a New York bagel popped into Yum Yung's head -- perhaps it was inspired by a dream, or by listening to sparrows' songs. Yum Yung lives in Korea where there are no New York bagels, and one day he just knows he has to have one. This timeless fable will make readers giggle with delight and satisfaction as Yum Yung, with the help of his friends, fulfills his bagel dream. The tale illustrates the power of perseverance. Reading age: 3-8 years.

The Have a Good Day Cafe

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Early each morning Mike and his family drive to the city with their food cart. They sell bagels and orange juice for breakfast, hot dogs and pizza for lunch. Mike passes the time by drawing pictures, and Grandma sits in the shade, fanning herself and missing life back home in Korea.

One day two other food carts show up on the family's street corner. All summer long business dwindles away, and Mike's worried parents start thinking about giving up their cart. Now it's up to Mike, and Grandma, to find a way to bring back their customers.

The idea for this story originated when the authors would drive to work and see a Korean family setting up an outdoor food cart each morning. Brimming with warmth and love, The Have a Good Day Cafe is a tribute to the resourcefulness of new immigrants everywhere. Readers will be delighted by this mouth-watering celebration of family and culture. Reading age: 5-8 years.

Chocolate Chocolate: The True Story of Two Sisters, Tons of Treats,
and the Little Shop
That Could

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When their beloved father died suddenly, authors Frances and Ginger Park (To Swim Across the World) comforted themselves with chocolates and mused on opening a confectionery shop with their small inheritance. The idea felt right to them--"a shop our late father would've loved just by virtue of its contents: chocolates and daughters"--and despite their inexperience, they decide to go for it, with their mother as silent partner. In 1984, on the day f their Washington, D.C., store, named Chocolate Chocolate, opened, they already were beset with difficulties, from crumbling walls and cracking floors installed by a shoddy, shady contractor to trying to conjure strategies to gain attention and sales. Bit by bit, their clientele grows; the sisters write fondly and often humorously of the recurring characters in their new, chocolate-centric lives, from favorite customers to the kooky sales rep who becomes an employee and dear friend. They easily move between musings on friendship and family, all the while offering inspiration and valuable lessons for budding entrepreneurs. The recipe for their house truffle rounds out this appealing, engaging memoir that's sure to appeal to a range of readers, chocoholics or not.

That Lonely Spell

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That Lonely Spell began seven years ago with a thought: For most of Frances’ life, she’d been missing her late father badly; one day she thought to try her hand at penning a personal essay about him. The piece turned out sweet yet lawless, longer than intended, and titled Mister, Your Shoelace is Untied. Another work followed, then another. At heart, they were love letters to her dad and his life, both glorious and cheated. Others, living and dead, crept into these pages: a stoic maid in post-war Seoul who finally warmed up to her the summer she was seven; a woman who lured her into her basement apartment with the promise of colorful gumballs; a golden boy she never got over; Jefferson, the soulful doodle of her heart; friends cherished, now perished; and of course her mother, alive during most of the writing here, yes, alive and cheering Frances on with the completion of each story, hot off the press.

 

All twenty-six stories here have been published in both commercial and literary magazines including in O: The Oprah Magazine, Spirituality & Health Magazine, The Chicago Quarterly, Gargoyle, Arts & Letters, and The Columbia Journal, to name a few. One work, her bittersweet remembrance of smuggling money out of South Korea in 1980 with her mother – “You Two Are So Beautiful Together” – earned a Notable in The Best American Essays 2017 (The Massachusetts Review).