All posts by Linda Sue Park

SQUASHED, by Joan Bauer

Contemporary YA, humorous.

Teenage girl gets her Prince Charming by way of a big pumpkin–but it’s NOT a Cinderella story. A really fun read, with Bauer’s hallmark easy touch.


Catching up on the news from the summer!

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At the Calvin College Festival of Faith and Writing in Michigan last May,
I got to interview one of my heroes: author Katherine Paterson. (Photo: BJ O’Connor)

Last May I spent an afternoon at the University Settlement House in Manhattan, as part of the National Book Foundation’s visiting authors program.

I spent a wonderful week at the Highlights Foundation Writers’ Workshop in Chautauqua, New York, where Kent Brown, the rest of the faculty, and especially the enthusiastic participants made my stay there most enjoyable. Have a look around the site to get an idea of what the week is like.

Children’s Literature New England was held at Williams College in August. What an amazing conference! I got to hear presentations by M.T. Anderson, Katherine Paterson, Kevin Crossley-Holland, Leonard Marcus, and Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket); visit the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst; and talk to participants from all over the world. If you are interested in literature for young people, I can’t recommend this conference highly enough! Unfortunately, the website doesn’t do justice to the terrific depth and scope of the discussion–nor what fun it is! But it does provide an e-mail link so you can get on the mailing list for next year!

An exciting link for teachers! Information on how to integrate a pottery lesson if your class is reading A Single Shard.

The return of Recent Reading! At long last, for those of you who have written to me asking plaintively about what has happened to my Recent Reading lists…a new development. I’ve started this blog where I’m going to record the titles I’ve been reading. This will enable me to update on a regular basis, rather than having to bother my webmaster too often.


Recent Reading Returns!

I’m trying livejournal as a more convenient way to update the ‘Recent Reading’ page of my website, which I haven’t been able to keep up with for quite some time. I hope to log in here often and share with you what I’ve been reading. As before, with the ‘Recent Reading’ page, the listing of any title is in itself a recommendation; in most cases, I will not list titles that I did not enjoy. I’ll try to add genre information and a comment or two.

MANY THANKS to all those who wrote asking me to update my reading page more often! Here’s hoping this new system will work.

Summer 2004

Books for young people

BUCKING THE SARGE, by Christopher Paul Curtis. Contemporary YA in Curtis’ inimitable style. Luther joins Kenny and Bud in a three-peat!

THE VILLAGE BY THE SEA, by Paula Fox. Midgrade. A quiet, thoughtful novel with remarkable characterization.

ISLAND BOYZ, by Graham Salisbury. Upper midgrade short stories. Gotta love the setting–Hawaii–and the depth of affection the author has for it. I also loved Salisbury’s LORD OF THE DEEP, a novel.

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME, by Mark Haddon. Strong character with a memorable voice.

THE MERLIN CONSPIRACY, by Diana Wynne-Jones. Midgrade. A big fat fun fantasy.

HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE, also by Diana Wynne-Jones. Midgrade. A smaller, even more fun fantasy.

FISH, by L.S. Matthews. Midgrade. A small book with a big story about war and displacement and survival and hope.

GREGOR THE OVERLANDER, by Suzanne Collins. Underworld fantasy, very cool.

EMILY OF NEW MOON, by L.M. Montgomery. Midgrade classic. If you love the Anne books, don’t miss Emily!

Adult books

THE PIANO TUNER, by Daniel Mason. Unusual setting—late 19th-century Burma—and a haunting story.

INTO THE LOOKING-GLASS WOOD, by Alberto Manguel. Thoughtful and thought-provoking essays on books and reading.

THE QUOTABLE BOOK LOVER, edited by Ben Jacobs and Helena Hjalmarsson. Lots of pithy quotes about reading and writing in a single handy reference.


New York, Kansas City, Texas, Oklahoma, and Massachusetts

I’ve been busy! Wonderful visits to several schools, libraries, and bookstores in upstate New York, Kansas City, Texas, Oklahoma, and Massachusetts. Here’s some of the evidence:

A visit to Barbara Bush Elementary School in Houston.

A picture of me with one of my favorite authors, Barbara O’Connor (MOONPIE AND IVY, ME AND RUPERT GOODY, and many other great titles), at the Wellesley Free Library outside Boston:

Linda Sue Park & Barbara O'Connor

Photos of my visit to Cimarron Middle School in Edmond, Oklahoma:

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An amazing mural of The Kite Fighters in the library…

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…complete with the dragon kite! (Notice the blue line!)

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Lunch with Cimarron students.

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At the Blue Manatee bookstore in Cincinnati

Another article by Patrician Newman: Click here

For readers of A Single Shard, a wonderful website about Celadon pottery: Click here

One page I haven’t updated lately is my “Recent Reading” page. Apologies to those of you who’ve asked about it. I hope to be able to work on it in the near future. In the meantime, keep reading!

Best wishes to all,
Linda Sue


May 2004

I’ve been busy! Wonderful visits to several schools, libraries, and bookstores in upstate New York, Kansas City, Texas, Oklahoma, and Massachusetts. Here’s some of the evidence:

A link to a page about my visit to Barbara Bush Elementary School in Houston: Click Here

A picture of me with one of my favorite authors, Barbara O’Connor (MOONPIE AND IVY, ME AND RUPERT GOODY, and many other great titles), at the Wellesley Free Library outside Boston:

Photos of my visit to Cimarron Middle School in Edmond, Oklahoma:

An amazing mural of The Kite Fighters in the library…

…complete with the dragon kite! (Notice the blue line!)

Lunch with Cimarron students.

At the Blue Manatee bookstore in Cincinnati

A great article about me and my work from the Kansas City Star: Click here

Another article by Patrician Newman: Click here

For readers of A Single Shard, a wonderful website about celadon pottery: Click here

One page I haven’t updated lately is my “Recent Reading” page. Apologies to those of you who’ve asked about it. I hope to be able to work on it in the near future. In the meantime, keep reading!

Best wishes to all,
Linda Sue


January 2004

Mung Mung

MUNG-MUNG! A Fold-out Book of Animal Sounds, illustrated by Diane Bigda (Charlesbridge Books, January 2004)

What kind of animal says “Mung-mung”? Open the gatefold and find out! Kirkus Reviews says, “Bidga’s lightly lined, pastel illustrations are beautiful and surprisingly lively”–I couldn’t agree more. A guessing-game picture book for ages 1-7

jan2004_firekeeper

THE FIREKEEPER’S SON, illustrated by Julie Downing (Clarion Books, March 2004)

In Korea in the early 1800s, news from the countryside reached the king by means of signal fires. On one mountaintop after another, a fire was lit when all was well. If the king did not see a fire, that meant trouble, and he would send out his army.

When his father is unable to light the fire one night, young Sang-hee must take his place. Sang-hee knows how important it is for the fire to be lit, but he wishes that he could see soldiers . . . just once.

Mountains, firelight and shadow, and Sang-hee’s struggle with a hard choice are rendered in Julie Downing’s radiant paintings. I’m so awed by her work! Picture book, ages 5-8.

On Her Way: Stories and Poems about Growing Up Girl

ON HER WAY: Stories and Poems about Growing Up Girl, edited by Sandy Asher (Dutton, January 2004)

A collection of twenty-one stories and poems by writers like Donna Jo Napoli, Edwidge Danticat, and Angela Johnson. I’m delighted that my story, “The Apple,” is in such good company! Ages 8-10.

Look for these books in your local bookstore, or order online.

Best wishes to all for a terrific 2004! —Linda Sue


October 2003 – Recent Reading

At the Crossing Places, by Kevin Crossley-Holland. The second book of a brilliant Arthurian trilogy. Two Arthurs: a boy in medieval England, and the legendary King, or are they really one and the same? Crossley-Holland is a fine poet and a crackerjack storyteller, to my mind, an unsurpassable combination in a novelist. Read The Seeing Stone first.

Tears of the Salamander, by Peter Dickinson. I’d follow Dickinson anywhere in his fiction; in this case, to Italy via a fantasy set on Mount Etna. A young chorister unravels the mystery of his own family’s history. I loved the way Dickinson uses music as the central motif, I could hear it as I read.

Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going. Fat kid, rock band, terrific voice in the novel itself, that is; the fat kid doesn’t sing. He’s the new drummer in a band led by his charismatic and troubled friend. Writers: Are you working on a first-person narrative? This is how it’s done. Contemporary YA.

Visit K.L. Going’s terrific website at www.klgoing.com (Click on “Non-Lame Stuff,” and then “Games,” and try the Reflex Tester. It will drive you crazy.)

From my summer list:

Ruby Electric, by Theresa Nelson. Ruby lives in LA and thinks in screenplays (perfect use of a structural device to reflect character). She has family problems and friend problems, like any 12-year-old, but she also has an unusual interest in the urban ecology of her concrete-bound neighborhood. Contemporary middle grade.

Adult reading:

Best American Science Writing 2003, ed. by Oliver Sacks. Every one of these articles or essays a gem.


October 2003

The Children’s Book Council has a regular feature called “Meet the Author/Illustrator,” and this time around, it’s me!

The archives have a TERRIFIC list of other authors and illustrators you can read about, and while you’re at it, explore the whole site–a terrific resource for lovers of children’s books.

On October 3rd, Clarion vice-president and associate publisher Dinah Stevenson accepted the Jane Addams Honor award on my behalf, for When My Name Was Keoko. The ceremony, which celebrates books that promote peace, social justice, and world community, was held at the United Nations in New York City. The winner of the Fiction for Older Readers award was Deborah Ellis for her book Parvana’s Journey. And Katherine Paterson also received an Honor citation for The Same Stuff as Stars.

Click here if you’d like to read the brief remarks I prepared for the ceremony, which Dinah Stevenson read to the gathering. Three picture books were also cited. More information on the Jane Addams Award.

In September I spoke at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., as part of their year-long commemoration of the Korean-immigration centennial. (The first Koreans to settle in the U.S. arrived in Hawaii in 1903.) Along with four other Korean-American writers for young people, I gave a presentation, signed books, and got to meet many readers! Thanks to Franklin Odo, Gina Inocencio and especially Terry Hong for a lovely event.

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(from left to right) Authors Frances Park, Yangsook Choi,
Ginger Park, me, and An Na. Frances and Ginger are sisters,
but not related to me.

Books (besides my own!) that were highlighted at the event:

  • by Frances and Ginger Park: My Mother’s Freedom Trip, The Royal Bee, Where in the World is my Bagel?
  • by Yangsook Choi: The Name Jar, New Cat, plus several others that she has illustrated for other authors
  • by An Na: A Step from Heaven

For more photos of the event, and information about the activities of the Asian Pacific American Program, click on this link.

Updated: the Recent Reading and Author Presentation pages.

Coming soon: EXCITING NEWS about the release of my first picture books!

Have a great fall, everyone. And hey, read something good this week! Best to all, Linda Sue


Summer 2003 – Recent Reading

Here’s a list of books I’ve read and enjoyed over the past several months:

for young people

Cheating Lessons, by Nan Willard Cappo

A Hundred Days from Home, by Randall Wright

Sahara Special, by Esme Raji Codell

Spitting Image, by Shutta Crum

The City of Ember, by Jeanne DuPrau

Call on the Stars (published in the U.S. as Cold Tom), by Sally Prue

The Thief Lord, by Cornelia Funke

Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card

The Other Side of Truth, by Beverly Naidoo

House of the Scorpion, by Nancy Farmer

Ruby Electric, by Theresa Nelson

Dust, by Arthur Slade

The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate DiCamillo

for adults

Peace Like a River, by Leif Enger

Borrowed Finery, by Paula Fox

Carter Beats the Devil, by Glen David Gold

The Botany of Desire, by Michael Pollan

Seabiscuit, by Laura Hillenbrand

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith

The Apprentice, by Jacques Pepin

Dear Editor, (letters to Poetry magazine) edited by Joseph Parisi

The Making of a Chef, by Michael Ruhlman

Reading in Bed, ed. by Steven Gilbar

Uncle Tungsten, by Oliver Sachs

The Child That Books Built, by Francis Spufford

Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett


August 2003

In May and June of 2003, I had a great time at several schools and events:

  • The Park School, Buffalo NY
  • Washington Irving School, Gates NY
  • Celebrate Libraries, Brighton NY
  • Midlakes Middle School, Clifton Springs NY
  • several schools in Ithaca NY
  • the 2003 ALA Conference in Toronto, Canada
  • Institute for Children’s Literature, Simmons College, Boston MA

Thanks to Leslie Occhiuto, Susan Swift, Sharyn Johnson, Jan Smith, Adrian Smith, David Patt, Susan Bloom and Cathie Mercier for making these events so enjoyable.

My Appearance Schedule has been updated–check it out to see if I’ll be in your area!

It’s been so long since I’ve updated the Reading page that I’m afraid I’ll never catch up! So this time around, I’ve made a simple list of books I’ve enjoyed over the years.

Please check out the Bio page and meet Fergus, the newest member of the family!

Keep reading! Best wishes, Linda Sue