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.

(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

May 2003

Wonderful news: When My Name Was Keoko has been named an Honor Book by the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award committee! This award is given to recognize books that “promote the cause of peace, social justice and world community.” The 2003 winner is Parvana’s Journey, by Deborah Ellis, and the other fiction Honor book is The Same Stuff as Stars, by Katherine Paterson. I am so honored and thrilled by this recognition.

More on the Jane Addams award

Announcing (drum roll, please…) the publication of Period Pieces:
Stories for Girls


This is an anthology of short stories written by several authors and edited by Erzsi Deak and Kristin Embry Litchman. Each story is fiction or memoir about a girl’s first period! I was delighted when Kris and Erzsi invited me to submit a story, and enjoyed working on it with them and with editor Rosemary Brosnan at HarperCollins, but best of all is seeing my story in book form alongside wonderful stories by other authors! For more information about the book, click on the cover image.

Fourth grade students at Jefferson School in Ottawa, Illinois, spent
almost the whole year studying my books! It was a great thrill for me to
meet some of these students, teacher Becky Nett, and librarian Connie Fultz last month during my tour. A big thank-you to author and friend Julia Durango, who helped set up the whole project: Click here to read the report on her website, and while you’re there have a good look around–it’s a terrific site!

Recent travels:

–to San Diego, for a great visit to LaJolla Country Day School


With LaJolla Country Day student Sam Brink—great-grandson of
author Carol Ryrie Brink, who wrote Caddie Woodlawn

–Los Angeles, for presentations at the awesome Central Branch of the LA Public Library, and the Pio Pico branch in Koreatown


With supporters and community members of the Pio Pico branch of the Los Angeles Public Library.

–San Francisco: presentations and signings at Kepler’s in Mountain View; Book Passage in Corte Madera; Rakestraw Books in Danville; and Hicklebee’s in San Jose

–Seattle: University Books; ParkPlace Books; and The Secret Garden

–Cobbles School in Penfield, NY

–Columbia, MD Public Library

–Baltimore: visits to Roland Park Country Day School; Bryn Mawr School; and the Calvert School, as well as a signing at The Children’s Bookstore under the aegis of wonderful owner Joanne Fruchtmann.


With students at Roland Park Country Day School in Baltimore.

–Tour to promote the paperback edition of A Single Shard! Schools and
bookstores in Kansas, Missouri, Chicago, Milwaukee, Louisville, Cincinnati, Dayton, Washington DC, and Maryland! It was a wonderful trip, busy and hectic, and a BLAST meeting so many readers and book lovers!


With Random House publicist and miracle-tour-arranger Amy
Ehrenreich at the Barnes & Noble in Bethesda, MD.

—District 203 in Naperville, IL and Indiana Elementary School in Park
Forest, IL—MY old elementary school!

The last couple of months have been frantically busy, but after almost a
year and a half of near-continual travel, I’m going to be taking a break to stay home and see if I can remember how to write. Hopefully I’ll be able to spend a little more time on the site during the summer months, so please come by again soon!

Happy reading and writing to all —Linda Sue.

March 2003

With concerns about war a part of our daily lives these days, I thought readers might be interested in the link below, to a page put together by author Uma Krishnaswami. It’s a list of books for young people on conflict, war, and peace. I’ll be reading titles like these in the days to come, and I hope you will too.

Uma Krishnaswami’s Peace Page

The paperback edition of A Single Shard is now available! Random House / Dell Yearling have done a wonderful job producing this edition, complete with a striking new cover by artist Rick Lieder:

A Single Shard

Look for it at your local bookstore, or it can be ordered from online sources.

To launch the Shard paperback, I will be going on tour in March and April. Please check out the tour schedule to see if and when I’ll be in your neighborhood.

Busy, busy, and having a blast: Over the past few months, I’ve been to schools in Boston, Leroy NY, and Houston, as well as conferences in New York City and Vancouver. Some wonderful memories:

Boston: Visiting Tenacres Country Day School, Cambridge Friends School, and Zinori’s Book Club, a book talk tv show directed, taped and hosted by kids! (created and produced by Karen Roehr of Artistic License.)

With students at Cambridge Friends School.
With students at Cambridge Friends School.

On the set of Zinori's Book Club with the anchors who interviewed me.
On the set of Zinori’s Book Club with the anchors who interviewed me.

The cake served after the Zinori Book Club taping—decorated with 'shards'! (Really broken-up Andes mints, much tastier than the real thing.)
The cake served after the Zinori Book Club taping—decorated with ‘shards’!
(Really broken-up Andes mints, much tastier than the real thing.)

Leroy, NY: A visit to the Leroy Public Library and Wolcott Street School, where the administration bought every single student in 4th through 7th grades a hardback copy of A Single Shard–wow!

Houston: Two days at the Kinkaid School, where they pulled out ALL the stops, even constructing a reproduction of a Korean-style room in the library!

With third-grade students from the Kinkaid School.
With third-grade students from the Kinkaid School.

New York: I spoke at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators midyear conference at the Roosevelt Hotel in midtown Manhattan. The Saturday luncheon crowd was warm and supportive, and the next day I gave a joint presentation with my editor Dinah Stevenson from Clarion Books. The best part of these conferences is meeting up with old friends and making new ones–what fun to spend a weekend with people who all love books!

Linda Sue Park with author/illustrator friends in New York.
With author/illustrator friends in New York. Standing from left, Esther (Chicken Soup by Heart) Hershenhorn; Cynthia (Snow Ponies) Cotten; me; Erszi (Period Pieces) Deak; Jennifer (Winnie On Her Own) Jacobson; Toni (Dawdle Duckling) Buzzeo. Seated from left, Katie (Party Animals) Davis; Kay (The Teeny Tiny Ghost) Winters; Dian (Monster of the Month) Curtis Regan. What a gang!

Vancouver: The Serendipity Conference run by the Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable. The awesome Ron Jobe was in charge and he and his cohorts provided me with a terrific two days amid the beautiful surroundings of coastal British Columbia. Dinah Stevenson and I presented together again, and I got to listen to the other speakers: nonfiction author Linda Granfield; author/illustrator Chris Riddell, winner of the 2002 Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration in England; and the legendary Katherine Paterson. Couldn’t have been better!

Need help with a book report? Announcing a new page of Frequently Asked Questions!

January 2003

If you’re reading this, then you’ve found my ‘new’ website. It may not look new, but the URL has changed to www.lspark.com

This is because my old domain name was recently hijacked by Ultimate Search, Inc. I am currently investigating the possibility of getting the name back (hey! it’s MY name after all). In the meantime, I would greatly appreciate help in spreading the word about the new URL. Especially important are links: If you have a link to this site, I would be most grateful if you would update it! I will let folks know if and when I’m able to get the old domain back and will then arrange for both URLs to point to this site.

[Note: It’s safe to also use www.lindasuepark.com again.]

On to much nicer news! I’m delighted to report that When My Name Was Keoko has received several honors:

School Library Journal Best Books of the Year

Publishers Weekly Best Books of the year

Child Magazine 50 Best Books of the year

New York Public Library’s “100 Titles for Reading and Sharing”

The Mitten Award from the children’s services division of the Michigan Library Association. For this award a committee of librarians chooses one title a year. Previous winners include Bud, Not Buddy, by Christopher Paul Curtis; Because of Winn-Dixie, by Kate DiCamillo; and Love That Dog, by Sharon Creech. I’m thrilled to be in such fine company!

Below, two very exciting photos! The first was taken on the steps of the White House with First Lady Laura Bush, as part of the National Book Festival in October.

White House

Do you see me? No? OK, I’m right there—behind Mrs. Bush, on her left.

The next photo was taken in November, after my audience with First Lady Lee Hee-ho (right) at the Blue House, Korea’s presidential residence.


Two First Ladies in one month-and really, it was three, because I also met Mrs. Lyudmila Putin, Russia’s First Lady, who was a surprise guest at the Book Festival in Washington. Whodathunkit!?

I had a wonderful fall visiting schools in Minneapolis/St. Paul and Boston, as well as in Korea and in my local area of Rochester, NY. Other travels included conferences in Pennsylvania and the Adirondacks, and bookstores everywhere! I hope to put together a journal of my amazing trip to Korea, but for now here are a few photos: Korea Trip

For the rest of the winter and on into spring, I’m continuing my busy schedule of travel and speaking engagements, including a two-part book tour to promote the Random House/Dell paperback of A Single Shard. Check my Appearance Schedule to see if I’ll be in your neck of the woods.


September 2002 – Recent Reading

Catalyst, by Laurie Halse Anderson. Contemporary YA. The latest from the author of Speak-and a worthy successor it is too. If you loved Melinda in Speak, you’ll love Kate here.

Ashes of Roses, by Mary Jane Auch. Historical YA. Rose immigrates to New York from Ireland and goes to work at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory. A grim episode from American history which I haven’t read about in fiction for young people before.

The Ropemaker, by Peter Dickinson. Fantasy YA. WOW! I love Dickinson’s work and this is my favorite of his so far. Epic fantasy with a girl protagonist and an inventive and thought-provoking twist: Tilja has the opposite of magical powers. If you like fantasy, don’t miss this one!

The Kite Rider, by Geraldine McCaughrean. Historical MG set in China. Kites, a traveling circus, Kublai Khan-a terrific adventure story. I especially appreciate the author’s sensitive portrayal of both the Mongols and the Cathay Chinese-a difference little appreciated in the west.

The Same Stuff as Stars, by Katherine Paterson. Contemporary MG. I’ll read anything by this author-and am never disappointed. Echoes of Gilly and Jess and Leslie, yet a story all its own, and the title is based on a concept near and dear to my heart.

Adult titles:

Patience & Fortitude, by Nicholas Basbanes. Nonfiction, the history of libraries.

Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain. Memoirs of a bad-boy chef.

Letters to a Fiction Writer, edited by Frederick Busch. Noted authors offer advice to those starting out.

In the Heart of the Sea, by Nathaniel Philbrick. Nonfiction, the true story on which Melville based Moby-Dick.

September 2002

Hope you all had a terrific summer! I did, with visits to North Carolina, Delaware, Virginia, and the Detroit area (twice). Hello to all the readers I met on those trips!

–A special greeting to those of you who have been kind enough to sign my guestbook. I love hearing from you and really appreciate your taking the time to write to me. This month’s Q & A update is the answer to a question from one of you!

–Thanks to Laura Godshall from the Eva Perry Public Library mock Newbery Club in Apex, North Carolina for the photo below:


From left: Eva Perry Newbery club members David, Andy, and Leo at ALA with me in June.

–The audio book of A Single Shard is available from Listening Library/Random House. Broadway actor Graeme Malcolm did a wonderful job of reading Tree-ear’s story. Check your local bookstore or order online.

–I’ve been trying to make up for lost time in my reading! The Reading page has been updated with the list of what I’ve read this summer-as usual, some terrific titles!

–My appearance schedule has also been updated. (Please note that my calendar is now FULL for the 2002-2003 school year and I am not booking any new dates for school visits until spring of 2004. If your school is interested in having me come speak, please get in touch with Elena Murphy at Clarion Books at the start of the 2003 school year.

Happy back-to-school to all students, teachers, and librarians-Happy September to the rest of you. READ! Reading helps make dreams come true!

–In June, I was interviewed by Celeste Quinn of WILL radio in Illinois. [Note: webcast is no longer available.]

Scroll about a third of the way down to find the program on June 4.

–For an article on my recent visits to two bookstores in Michigan, Halfway Down the Stairs and Book Beat, click here.

July 2002 – Newbery: Tuesday, June 18

Tuesday morning I was privileged to attend the Coretta Scott King Award breakfast. Award recipient Mildred Taylor (for The Land) was unable to attend, so her editor Phyllis Fogelman read the speech Ms. Taylor had prepared. Fiction Honor winners Marilyn Nelson (Carver) and Sharon Flake (Money-Hungry) also spoke, as well as the illustration winners: Jerry Pinkney, Award for Goin’ Someplace Special—a book I LOVE—and Bryan Collier, Honor for Martin’s Big Words; and Jerrome Larrigue, John Steptoe New Talent Award recipient (for Freedom Summer, text by Deborah Wiles). There was a warm and celebratory spirit at this event and I enjoyed it immensely.

As well as hearing the winners speak, Mrs. King herself addressed the audience. It was truly thrilling to hear her, and I couldn’t have picked a better way for my magical weekend to finish.

july2002_Coretta Scott King
Mrs. King speaks at the award breakfast named in her honor.

I flew home Tuesday afternoon, replete with memories of my magical time at ALA. A gazillion thanks to all who attended, and all who were there in spirit!

Photo credits: Lynne Polvino, JoAnn Hill, Ed Park, Ben Dobbin, Kay Winters, Julie Hubble, JoAnn Jonas

July 2002 – Newbery: Monday, June 17

Another signing for Clarion Monday morning, a quick bite to eat with Dinah, and then on to dessert with a group of writers and librarians, where we laughed until our sides ached. The day finished with a dinner given by Clarion for the Newbery committee, my parents, and me. It was held in a private room at the Ritz. I got to change seats with every course so I had a chance to visit with everyone. With the speech behind me, I felt relaxed and so happy to be able to chat with the committee members. It was a perfect evening.

With Deb Shapiro, now of Simon & Schuster’s publicity department, but then my own personal Girl Friday.

With my parents and THE Committee!
From left, standing: Ken Setterington, Deborah Taylor, Vaunda Nelson, Chair Kathleen Odean, Gail Nordstrom, Joanne Jonas, Elizabeth Overmyer, my dad, Patty Carleton, my mom, Louise Sherman, Vicky Smith, Sharon Harvey, Junko Yokota; seated from left: Jeri Kladder, me holding the Medal (my dad let me borrow it), Roxanne Feldman, Lisa Falk.

My mom imparts some secret wisdom of inestimable value to me (probably something like, “Your slip is showing…”)

With my All-Girl band: From left, standing: Lynne Polvino, Andrea Davis Pinkney, Deb Shapiro,
Michele Coppola, Jennifer Greene, Marjorie Naughton, Virginia Buckley, all of Houghton Mifflin/Clarion;
Ginger Knowlton, me, Dinah Stevenson.

Tuesday, July 18