When Spring Comes to the DMZ

Uk-Bae Lee (Author)
Available

Description

Batchelder Honor Winner, 2020 ALA Youth Media Awards
Honorable Mention, 2019 Freeman Awards (National Consortium for Teaching about Asia)

Korea's demilitarized zone has become an amazing accidental nature preserve that gives hope for a brighter future for a divided land.

This unique picture book invites young readers into the natural beauty of the DMZ, where salmon, spotted seals, and mountain goats freely follow the seasons and raise their families in this 2.5-mile-wide, 150-mile-long corridor where no human may tread. But the vivid seasonal flora and fauna are framed by ever-present rusty razor wire, warning signs, and locked gates--and regularly interrupted by military exercises that continue decades after a 1953 ceasefire in the Korean War established the DMZ.

Creator Uk-Bae Lee's lively paintings juxtapose these realities, planting in children the dream of a peaceful world without war and barriers, where separated families meet again and live together happily in harmony with their environment. Lee shows the DMZ through the eyes of a grandfather who returns each year to look out over his beloved former lands, waiting for the day when he can return. In a surprise foldout panorama at the end of the book the grandfather, tired of waiting, dreams of taking his grandson by the hand, flinging back the locked gates, and walking again on the land he loves to find his long-lost friends.

When Spring Comes to the DMZhelps introduce children to the unfinished history of the Korean Peninsula playing out on the nightly news, and may well spark discussions about other walls, from Texas to Gaza.

Product Details

Price
$17.95  $16.51
Publisher
Plough Publishing House
Publish Date
March 08, 2019
Pages
40
Dimensions
10.1 X 0.4 X 9.8 inches | 1.05 pounds
Language
English
Type
Hardcover
EAN/UPC
9780874869729
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Uk-Bae Lee was born in Yongin, South Korea, in 1960 and studied art at Hongik Art University. In 1986 he joined a group of artists whose murals, cartoons, and woodcuts represented the voice of the poor. He also held free painting classes for factory workers. Later, inspired to make a book for his own young daughter, he began his career as a children's book illustrator. In 2010 he published When Spring Comes to the DMZ as a part of the Peace Picture Book Project by illustrators from Korea, China, and Japan. Since then he has often talked to groups of children and parents about how individuals can work for peace. He lives in rural Korea with his wife, who is also a children's book author, and their children. Well known in Korea, Uk-Bae Lee is an award-winning illustrator. In 1999, his first picture book, Sori's Harvest Moon Day, was published in English and in 2009 he was invited to the Bologna Children's Book Fair as a guest of honor. In 2010 his picture book A Tale of Tales was chosen by the International Board on Books for Young People for its IBBY Honor List.

Reviews

This bittersweet picture book walks through the four seasons at Korea's heavily weaponized demilitarized zone, celebrating the nature that thrives there while mourning the human cost of this border wall." --Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
The Korean demilitarized zone split the country in two, dividing its population and separating families. In the swath between the countries' barbed wire borders, though, the natural world flourishes. ... Throughout the seasons, an old man climbs the observation tower to look through a telescope; finely worked landscapes are drawn through his eyes: "Grandfather wants to fling the tightly locked gates wide open." A bold gatefold lets readers do just that, and Lee imagines Grandfather walking through the meadow with his grandson. ... The story's poignancy will resonate. --Publishers Weekly
Illustrations inspired by traditional Korean painting techniques are the star of this picture book in translation. Lyrical text, reminiscent of free verse, describes the wildlife and weather of Korea's Demilitarized Zone during each season in turn.... [as well as] depicting military activities and a grandfather who longs for the unified Korea of his youth.... Deftly tackling a topic that will likely be unfamiliar to many readers, this is sure to spark discussion among budding history enthusiasts. --School Library Journal
Internationally award-winning author/artist Uk-Bae Lee's persistent dream of reunification of a fractured homeland manifests in the penultimate spread, which opens like a magic portal, the rusted, over-secured fence folding out to a tranquil kingdom where war weapons have long broken down into obsolescence.... With gentle words and glorious art, Lee inspires the newest generation of readers to lead the way - and make such miracles happen. --Shelf Awareness
Softly drawn yet powerful images uncover a peaceful wildlife refuge thriving naturally despite harsh razor wire, marching soldiers, and heavy tanks. As the seasons pass, a grandfather observes the natural beauty while mourning the divide that keeps him from returning to his home across the DMZ. --Foreword Reviews
Every spring, Grandfather climbs the stairs to the observatory at the Demilitarized Zone that separates the people of North and South Korea.... The contrast between the joy of blooming nature and Grandfather's silent longing is sharp. While birds can fly south from the north, people cannot cross. Highly detailed illustrations in watercolor and pencil capture the softness of Grandfather's heart and the exuberance of wildlife that grows without bounds. Back matter provides a brief explanation of the Korean War and the pain of the separated populations with eerie timeliness. --Booklist