Monday, March 28, 2016

Korea: Part One

After reading books about the Arctic in January and February, we've moved on to Korea in the Reading Together Family Exploration Book Club.

This is a culture I'm not familiar with at all, other than knowing where on a map to find it, and knowing a few people who were adopted from there.

The Firekeeper's Son was our chosen picture book for early this month, and I was happy to find it on the shelf at my library! 

I remember hearing about the ancient practice of using fires on mountaintops as a way to communicate across distances. And who can forget this beautiful scene from Lord of the Rings? Though in this case, the fires are lit to summon help, instead of saying "all is well" like in The Firekeeper's Son.

Gosh I want to go to New Zealand...

The family dynamics in Korean culture are so interesting. It makes sense for a son to take over the father's "business", whatever that may be -- it's common in the history of many cultures, and even today things like farms and family-run businesses. But this idea was unpacked even further in the middle grade book we read this month, The Kite Fighters.

This book takes place in the year 1473. Two sons love to fly kites, and are looking forward to the annual New Year's Festival. However, the oldest son is guaranteed many things in life, such as schooling and being the one to represent the family at events, even though the younger son is more skilled. There are certain expectations that the boys have to follow, from things within their own family to things within their country and culture.

Other parts of their culture were eye-opening too. I can't imagine living in a time where the women weren't allowed to leave the home -- they had to send servants to run their errands, and the men of the family were the ones able to attend festivals and events. I may be an introvert, but I am also a woman who values friendships!

Once again I'm glad we've decided in the RTFEBC to take two months to unpack a topic. Even just in the writing of this post, I'm inspired to learn more about this culture. Sheila at the Deliberate Reader wrote a great post about other Korean-themed picture books, I'll be looking into more of those this next month along with our YA pick -- When My Name Was Keoko

Thanks to our hosts for the RTFEBC:

And Moira of Hearth and Homefront, our March/April co-host

Be sure to check out our hosts' pages for this month's linkup! If you've been reading along with us about Korea, or just have a post about reading together as a family, please head over and share with us! Discussion will continue in our Facebook group too.

This post does contain Amazon Affiliate links. Purchases you make after clicking through will help support The Lion is a Bookworm, without changing the cost to you!

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