When Spring Comes to the DMZ
When Spring Comes to the DMZ

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Annotation: Korea's demilitarized zone has become an amazing accidental nature preserve that gives hope for a brighter future for a ... more
Catalog Number: #209864
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: Publisher: 0-87486-972-2 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-7615-8
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-87486-972-9 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-7615-8
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2018037211
Dimensions: 25 x 26 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Every spring, Grandfather climbs the stairs to the observatory at the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) that separates the people of North and South Korea. He peers through binoculars, and readers get to see what he sees: an abundance of flora and fauna. Situated between walls of barbed wire, this strip of land has been untouched by humans since 1954 and bears witness to the glory of nature. Grandfather visits again in summer, autumn, and winter, all the while, soldiers practice their drills. 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. Hyechong Chung's K Is for Korea (2008) and Jon Agee's The Wall in the Middle of the Book (2018) might help young readers who need additional context.
Kirkus 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. Although the story does not even define or discuss the DMZ or the Korean War, colorful illustrations reveal to young readers the long fences of razor wire hugging a beautiful mountainside. But because no humans are allowed in this 2.5-mile-wide, 150-mile-long buffer zone, the area has unintentionally become a nature sanctuary. The water deer, striped salmon, and mountain goats know no limitations to their habitat, crossing borders, swimming under barbed wire, and nesting near land mines. Their freedom, together with many references to home and family, stand in stark contrast to the military exercises that have continued through the cease-fire since 1953. Lee views this irony through the character of elderly Grandfather, who makes his way to the wall every season, gazing longingly upon his inaccessible former homeland. A foldout reveal at book's end is symbolic of the hope of a reunified Korea, with a simple reunion embrace representing the dreams of families separated since the 1950s. The endnote provides needed background along with a plea for peace and freedom.The cupboard is nearly bare of children's books about the DMZ, making this an excellent introduction to the crises on the Korean Peninsula as well as a great choice for social justice collections, peace promoters, and animal lovers. (Picture book. 4-12)
Publishers Weekly
Created after the truce that ended the Korean War in 1953, 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: -When spring comes to the DMZ,/ green shoots spring up in the meadows.- South Korean peace activist Lee celebrates the animals that thrive despite the political tension: -The seals don-t know about the line./ They come and go freely.- 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. Greater historical context beyond the included back matter would have been beneficial, but the story-s poignancy will resonate. Ages 5-8. (Mar.)
Starred Review for Kirkus 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. Although the story does not even define or discuss the DMZ or the Korean War, colorful illustrations reveal to young readers the long fences of razor wire hugging a beautiful mountainside. But because no humans are allowed in this 2.5-mile-wide, 150-mile-long buffer zone, the area has unintentionally become a nature sanctuary. The water deer, striped salmon, and mountain goats know no limitations to their habitat, crossing borders, swimming under barbed wire, and nesting near land mines. Their freedom, together with many references to home and family, stand in stark contrast to the military exercises that have continued through the cease-fire since 1953. Lee views this irony through the character of elderly Grandfather, who makes his way to the wall every season, gazing longingly upon his inaccessible former homeland. A foldout reveal at book's end is symbolic of the hope of a reunified Korea, with a simple reunion embrace representing the dreams of families separated since the 1950s. The endnote provides needed background along with a plea for peace and freedom.The cupboard is nearly bare of children's books about the DMZ, making this an excellent introduction to the crises on the Korean Peninsula as well as a great choice for social justice collections, peace promoters, and animal lovers. (Picture book. 4-12)
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
ALA Booklist (2/1/19)
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal
Reading Level: 2.0
Interest Level: K-3
Lexile: 1070L

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 DMZ helps 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.


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