Korea-Themed Picture Books

Interested in joining in with us for the Reading Together: A Family Exploration Book Club, but have children too young to appreciate the chapter books we’ll be reading? While the “official” picture book for our theme is The Firekeeper’s Son, here are 19 other options in case you can’t find that one at your library, or if you read it and want more!

Twenty Picture Books about Korea

20 Korea-Themed Picture Books:

Asterisks mark ones that I especially enjoyed

Korean History

I do love learning about history through picture books, and all three of these are well done – focusing one small aspects of history (often with a personal connection) to bring it to life.

Korean Immigrant or Korean-American Experiences
Based on Korean Folktales

The lack of asterisks here is perhaps based more on my usual indifference to folktales than a fair reflection on the quality of these books. If you’re a fan of folktale retellings, you may appreciate them more than I did.

Contemporary

If you’re looking for picture books best for the youngest of readers, you may want to try one of these. The above books all are longer picture books, and none of my toddlers would have wanted to sit through them.

  • * Bee-Bim Bop!Bee-Bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park, illustrated by Ho Baek Lee by Linda Sue Park, illustrated by Ho Baek Lee
  • * The ZooThe Zoo by Suzy Lee by Suzy Lee
    (Note: This is a really great book, but the Korean setting is incidental to the story, and if I weren’t looking for it I’d easily miss the limited hints about the setting that are provided. Do read the book, but unless you have no other options pick another one to support the theme. And, don’t feel like this is only for younger readers – the illustrations are detailed, and lead to fun discussions about the contrast between the text, and what the pictures show.)
  • My Cat Copies MeMy Cat Copies Me by Yoon-duck Kwon by Yoon-duck Kwon
    (Note: Another one where the setting is incidental to the story. It was originally published in Korean, and the illustration style and technique are apparently traditionally Korean, so you can always branch off on that if this is your only book option.)
Other Options

Thinking that perhaps you want to give the other readalouds a try? In March we’ll be reading The Kite FightersThe Kite Fighters by Linda Sue Park and in April we’ll read When My Name Was KeokoWhen My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park, both by Linda Sue Park.

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Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Book Review: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Two years ago: Book Review: Pizza, Pigs, and Poetry by Jack Prelutsky
Three years ago: Reading Through Grief

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