More on the Far East

My summer reading game drew 26 kids last year and got quite competitive. Between them, the children read 1,214 books, and when we had our end-of-summer reading party, it was clear that they remembered many of the stories. In this article, I will—as usual—only scratch the surface of the rich offerings available.

Philippines & Korea

My library has few books on the Philippines, so I’ll just include one here. It is Eagle, by Judy Allen. A teacher and his students are on a field trip in a forest, and a great eagle swoops down, terrifying one boy particularly. At a later point, the eagle swoops down again, but this time it is to catch a deadly snake that was near the boy, probably saving his life.

I have quite a few books about or set in Korea, but I could have used more, as several families taking part in the reading game were of Korean origin. For general information about the country, see K Is for Korea, by Hyechong Cheung, illustrated with photos, or Count Your Way Through Korea, by Jim Haskins. A nice simple introduction for a young child is I Am the Subway, by Kim Hyo-eun, in which various people get on the Seoul subway, and you learn something about their lives. Shirley Climo has written The Korean Cinderella, whose heroine is helped by magical animals. Kongi and Potgi, by Oki S. Han, is another variation on the Cinderella theme. Mr. Pak Buys a Story, by Carol Farley, is ridiculous (and memorable because of it). A silly story is repeated over and over and stymies a thief.


Kathie Johnson has always had a love for children's books. She collected many as a teacher and began sharing them with other teachers. In 1986, she opened a children's library in her home, and it has continued to expand over the years. Many home-schooled and schooled children borrow books from it, and she takes great pleasure in finding the "right" book for a child. She attends First Presbyterian Church in Berkeley.

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