When Spring Comes to the DMZ


Product Details

$17.95  $16.69
Plough Publishing House
Publish Date
10.1 X 9.8 X 0.4 inches | 1.05 pounds

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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.


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