People came from all over the world recently to visit Nami Island in South Korea for its well-known International Children’s Book Festival. It features exhibitions of art from childrens’ literature, classes, exhibitions and lots of fun, creative, colorful things for kids to do.
NLU’s Junko Yokota, Ph.D., professor of Reading and Language and director of NLU’s Center for Teaching through Children’s Books, served on the jury this year. The Korean newspaper Korea JoongAng Daily quotes her as saying they selected books with “soul” that children would want to keep coming back to.
The Korea Herald also quotes Yokota on a controversy over a poem by a 10-year-old Korean girl. In it, the girl says she doesn’t want to go to hagwon (Korean private school) and she’ll chew up mom painfully and dig out her eyes in order to avoid going. The cruelty expressed in the poem caused many to denounce it.
Yokota told the newspaper that she believes “books should expand our understanding of the world, including dark things and the hopeful things.” She also doesn’t want the girl to be known or typecast for what she wrote in a moment of anger or frustration.