When Spring Comes to the DMZ

tr. from Korean. illus. by Uk-Bae Lee. 40p. Plough. Mar. 2019. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9780874869729.
Gr 1–3—Illustrations inspired by traditional Korean painting techniques are the star of this picture book in translation. Lyrical text, reminiscent of free verse, describes the wildlife and weather of Korea's Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) during each season in turn. Readers might think the book is about a nature preserve until they examine the accompanying illustrations, which show barbed wire and floodlights in the background of idyllic scenes of animals native to Korea. Lee describes human activities in the DMZ each season, too, depicting military activities and a grandfather who longs for the unified Korea of his youth. Back matter includes a simplified land map of North and South Korea, along with a description of the DMZ's history that will be easy for young readers to grasp. The descriptions of separated families and war violence in this afterword may be difficult for sensitive readers to process, but Lee's message advocating for a unified, peaceful Korea gives the book an overall hopeful tone.
VERDICT Deftly tackling a topic that will likely be unfamiliar to many readers, this is sure to spark discussion among budding history enthusiasts.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing