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Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Bookstorm™: Firekeeper’s Son

Bookmap Firekeeper's SonFirekeeper's SonThis month, we are pleased to feature Firekeeper’s Son, written by Linda Sue Park and illustrated by Julie Downing. Set in Korea in the 19th century, it’s a book about an historic system of signal fires that served as national security … and one family who is responsible for lighting a bonfire each and every night. 

The young boy at the center of the book dreams of seeing soldiers, but it’s his father’s job to advise the king that all is clear. Soldiers are not needed. What happens when the boy must fill in for his father? Will he call the soldiers to satisfy his dreams? With luminous, compelling illustrations, this is a memorable book about honor, loyalty, and discipline.

In each Bookstorm™, we offer a bibliography of books that have close ties to the the featured book. For Firekeeper’s Son, you’ll find books for a variety of tastes and interests. The book will be comfortably read to or by ages 4 through adult. We’ve included fiction and nonfiction, picture books, poetry, middle grade books, and books adults will find interesting. 

Korean Culture. The people and places of Korea, the alphabet and language, proverbs and folktales … there are books to familiarize your classroom with the ancient and fascinating culture of the Land of Morning Calm.

Fiction: Books Set in Korea. From picture books to middle grade novels, many books have been set in Korea, both historical novels like Kite Fighters and picture books about American immigrants like The Name Jar. Linda Sue Park’s Newbery Medal novel A Single Shard fits within this category and so does Year of Impossible Goodbyes by Sook Nyul Choi. Good stories!

Fire and Light. Sang-hee’s family works with fire. Having a reliable way to light the signal fire each evening is vital. How does fire work? We’ve selected interesting websites and a DK Eyewitness book for “sparking” an interest. 

Poetry. Are you familiar with the Korean sijo form of poetry? Tap Dancing on the Roof is filled with this precise poetry with a twist.

Websites, Videos, and Films About Korea. We’ve selected websites from the Korean Art Association, the BBC, The New York Times and more to fill in answers for some of the questions you will have about Korea when you read all of these books.

Codes and Signals. From storm codes to signal fires to secret writing and ciphers, codes have fascinated people for thousands of years.

Korea–Books for Adult Readers. You’ll want to fill in the gaps in your knowledge about Korea. We’ve found some highly recommended books, including one of the books Linda Sue Park used for her research for Firekeeper’s Son.

Let us know how you are making use of this Bookstorm™. Share your ideas and any other books you’d add to this Bookstorm™.


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