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This list has been pre-screened. Books in this color were highly recommended by KAAN conference attendees. Contact Us with additions or corrections.
Sir Whong and the Golden Pig by Oki S. Han A stranger tries to outwit the wise and generous Sir Whong. Includes some introductory cultural info on Korean weddings.
Sixteen Year in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee by Story by Paula Yoo Inspiring story of the Korean-American Olympic diver (and doctor) who defied the odds, learning his craft when people of color were only allowed in the local pool one day a week.
Slant by Laura E. Williams Thirteen-year-old Lauren, a Korean-American adoptee, is tired of being called "slant" and "gook", and longs to have plastic surgery on her eyes, but when her father finds out about her wish-and a long-kept secret about her mother's death is revealed-Lauren starts to question some of her own assumptions.
So Far from the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins Sometimes called the companion to "Year of Impossible Good-byes" (see below), this story is told through the eyes of a Japanese girl living in North Korea.
So Far from the Sea by Eve Bunting, illus. by Chris Soentpiet (Korean-born adoptee) Japanese-American family visits the site where the father's family "lived" during WWII. Author and illustrator are both terrific, and this poignant story teaches about a part of the war that's often forgotten.
Somebody's Daughter by Marie Myung-Ok Lee Sarah Thorson is a Korean-American adoptee who returns to Korea as a college student and eventually searches for the birthmother who is also searching for her.
Somewhere Inside: One Sister's Captivity in North Korea and the Other's Fight to Bring Her Home by Laura Ling and Lisa Ling
Sondok: Princess of the Moon and Stars by Sheri Holman (part of the Royal Diaries series) In the late seventh century, the land that we now call Korea was embroiled with political and religious conflicts. Three kingdoms (Silla, Koguryo, and Paekche) fought for supremacy, and three faiths (Shamanism, Buddhism, and Confucianism) battled for dominance. Princess Sondok, the eldest daughter of King Chinp-yong of Silla, must contemplate problems that few other 14-year-olds ever confront.
Song Lee in Room 2B by Suzy Kline Chapter book. Spring becomes a memorable time for a second-grade class because of the antics of Horrible Harry and the special insights of a shy Song Lee.
Songs of My Families by Kelly Fern Memoir of a woman who spends the first five years of her life in Korea before being adopted by a Minnesota couple. At age nineteen, she relinquishes a child of her own to adoption. Years later, her husband helps her to reunite with both her Korean family and the daughter to whom she said goodbye.
Songs of the Dragons (Flying to Heaven) translated by James Hoyt This Korean literary classic contains both the English and Korean versions of the story, plus extensive commentary in English.
Sori's Harvest Moon Day by Uk-Bae Lee (Make Friends Around the World) Experience this Korean holiday through the eyes of Sori, a young Korean girl. Includes a map, glossary of terms, and 9-inch companion doll in authentic Korean costume.
Sourcebook of Korean Civilization by Peter Lee
South Korea...in Pictures by Lerner Publications Describes the geography, history, government, people, and economy of South Korea. Textbook format with mostly black and white photos.
Speaking Korean: Book One by Francis Y. T. Park Teaches basics of Korean language.
Stella: On the Edge of Popularity by Lauren Lee Hoping to be accepted by a popular seventh-grade clique, a Korean-American girl is embarrassed by her family's heritage--until a series of events gives her a better sense of who she is.
Still Life . . .With Rice: A Young American Woman Discovers the Life and Legacy of Her Korean Grandmother by Helie Lee Young Korean-American woman learns the story of her grandmother's life. This non-fiction book was recommended to me as an excellent insight into Korean culture. I did not expect to be swept up in the story as well. Wonderful read!
Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans by Ronald Takaki Covers the histories of Asian Americans, from the Chinese who laid tracks for the transcontinental railroad to modern-day students stigmatized by the stereotype of being the "model minority".
Sun Girl and Moon Boy by Yangsook Choi Korean folktale of two children who manage to outwit a hungry tiger. "Disneyesque" illustrations.
Tae's Sonata by Haemi Balgassi A Korean-American eight-grader, who just wants to fit in, is distraught when assigned a report on South Korea . . . especially when her partner happens to be one of the most popular boys in school.