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My Freedom Trip

by Frances  Park and Ginger Park
Illustrated by Debra Reid Jenkins

Published by Boyds Mills Press, 1998
32 pages
ISBN: 1563974681

Ages 8-10

A young girl describes her journey from North to South Korea in this haunting picture book that achingly reveals a small child's fear of leaving what is loved and familiar behind and of journeying into the unknown. Soo's friends have already been disappearing one by one from school, fleeing with their families in the night to the freedom of the south on the eve of the Korean War. When her father tells her that he, too, will be leaving, Soo begs him to stay but he promises her his guide, Mr. Han, will return for her soon, and then for her mother. One by one, he tells her, they will take their freedom trips. When the guide does return for Soo, she must go with this kind stranger into the night, leaving her mother behind and trusting that her father will be waiting at the end of her journey. The authors based the unforgettable story on their own mother's childhood. Their prose is as hushed and tense as a child in fear as Soo and Mr. Han move through the dangerous darkness, and Debra Reid Jenkins soft, somber-toned paintings underscore the emotional weight of the story. A key is provided to the Korean words used in the text and the Korean characters that appear as part of the design of each quiet, elegant two-page spread. CCBC categories: Historical People, Places and Events; Biography / Autobiography.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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