Monday, October 6, 2014

The Kite fighters by Linda Sue Park

I have said this in previous posts and I guess if you read my blog, even occasionally, you will know that I adore reading children's books.  When I read A Single Shard (also by Linda Sue Park) I said the story left me breathless so I was excited to read another book by this extremely gifted writer.  I am so happy I can also highly recommend this book too.

I picked up The Kite Fighters last night and read the whole book in one sitting.  As with A Single Shard and See Saw Girl the setting here is Korea.  Linda Sue Park gives the reader a wonderful insight into a family life which is steeped in tradition.  Young-Sup is the younger brother.  It seems all the good things happen to his older brother Kee-sup simply because of birth order.  Young-sup would love a kite but on this New Year he has been given a board game and so he must watch is brother and his clumsy attempts to fly the new kite.  Finally Young-sup is given a turn and his natural talents come to the fore.

"Young-sup picked up the kite. In that brief moment he had felt why it would not fly.  On only his second try he launched the kite from a complete standstill.  Kee-sup's jaw dropped.  'Hey! How did you do that?'  Young-sup shrugged, not wanting to display too much pride.  'I'll show you,' he said.  For he knew in his bones that he could do it again."

One of the best aspects of this book is the way Young-sup and Kee-sup work together firstly so Young-sup  can have a kite of his own and later when they participate in the annual kite fighting competition on behalf of the King himself.

If you want to extend your study of Korea here is a useful pinterest collection.  Another exciting teaching point comes from the five virtues of Confucius and the way Kee-sup uses these to convince his father Young-sup must fly their kite in the competition.

I have included two different cover designs below.  Our library copy is the one above but I prefer the alternate ones. After reading this book I recommend picking up the picture book The tiny kite of Eddie Wing.  Here is an excellent review which gives you more details of the plot.

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