Book Review: The Kite Fighters By Linda Sue Park

kite_fightersFlying wind, fighting kites, floating line.

1473, in Seoul, Korea, two brothers are excited for the New Year kite celebration, which means kite fighting. Both have the passion, but each has different skills. The elder, Kee-sup, can build a kite fit for a king but cannot handle a kite much less fight with it. The younger, Young-sup, knows how to “speak” to the wind and kite, which allows him to control kites with ease. Unfortunately, with a new year comes growing up and Kee-sup officially becomes an “adult,” which strains the brother’s relationship. During this time, Young-sup befriends the king of Korea, which brings a new conflict between the boys and their loyalty to their father and the king. Yet this doesn’t stop the boys from doing what they truly want to do for the kite festival.

The Kite Fighters is one of my favorite books that I have read over and over again. There is a huge theme about the relationship between brothers. Unfortunately, to fully understand the story main conflict, it is necessary to have  knowledge of the strict honoring system in Asian culture. Despite this, I love how the author manages to write a captivating story combined with the uncommonly written Asian history. There is also a great theme of how very different people can become the most unlikely of friends. This is a perfect book for any age. It’s not a high action fierce or  fighting story, but it brings a good tale of family and friendship. This, of course, is only what I think, so decide for yourself if it’s a book for you!

If you would like to read my review of another book by Linda Sue Park, A Single Shard, click here:

-Sarah J., 9th grade

Book Review: A Single Shard, by Linda Sue Park

single_shard“He would make replicas, dozens if needed, until the glaze was like jade and water. And the vase would be carefully inlaided, with a design of-of…” – An excerpt from A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park

A Single Shard is the story of an orphan, Tree-ear, in a potter’s village in Korea during the twelfth century. It was written by Linda Sue Park, who weaves a artful story of the orphan’s life and pottery.This is a fantastic book that won the 2002 Newbery Award.

Tree-ear is a 12-year-old boy who lives with a crippled man named Crane-man. They live together under a bridge in the small Korean potter’s village of Ch’ulp’o. They both scavenge and hunt for food to live. Living in such a town, Tree-ear naturally becomes attracted to the art of making pottery. Ch’ulp’o was one of many villages that were known for a be able to create beautiful pots of a rare celadon green color. Tree-ear likes especially to watch a potter named Min. Min is known to create some of the best pieces in the village, but is incredibly slow. Tree-ear by accident damages one of Min’s pieces and does work for Min to repay for the lost time. This eventually become a sort of apprenticeship. Even so, Tree-ear has to deal with Min dissatisfaction and refusals to teach him to shape a pot.   When the news of a royal commission reaches Ch’ulp’o, Tree-ears hopes to finally gain Min approval and respect. 

A Single Shard is a incredible book. This has been a favorite of mine ever since I read it several years ago– a tale that good for any age. This is a historical fiction that shows a peek into the history, art, and culture of ancient Korea. This story is also about the importance of family, and how it can change a person in both a good and bad way. Not much action or adventure, but a great book to read as a family. Read it for yourself and decide.

– Sarah J., 8th grade