Best Picture Books of KOREA
People from the future / picture books and children
Jieun Kim │ Children’s Literature Critic
Picture books are art for all ages, from 0 to 100 years old. They provide a special, image-based narrative, where pictures unfold a story and words work for it. They are also an art of future in that they combine with digital media to expand their boundaries. Picture books have broad social appeal because they can reach the minds of people beyond languages and borders. Children around the world love picture books the most. They start to understand art by reading picture books. Young readers learn about the real world from picture books and can start to imagine a future world. Picture books also provide answers to philosophical questions like “How will I live in the future?” Young readers’ interest lies in upcoming changes. In that sense, the children who read picture books are future readers who come with questions from far away.
Children are curious about life and its challenges. Young readers are brave. They aggressively criticize our dark past to try to create a better world. They have the sensitivity for the future, a beautiful intuition that adults lack. Picture books are reliable friends to children who are just jumping into the world. They need an environment where they can freely select the books they want to read. They need to grow up with pictures and words that give them more varied perspectives. Like a mirror, picture books reflect the lives of the children today. We can see what children want and the realities they are facing through picture books. They are an artistic indicator, simultaneously shedding light on both the present and the future.
What about the lives of children reflected in Korean picture books? At present, the artistry of Korean authors, including their philosophical insights, is leading the global flow of picture books. Child readers in Korea experience universal questions sooner than other children. They are connected to the world from a young age via smart phones as they live in a country with a remarkably developed information infrastructure. Korean children, growing up inside the high fence of technology, feel the beauty and preciousness of life more earnestly because they are living in a post-human environment. Because of this, there are many works about communing with life forms. Also, Korean children live in a divided country, growing up under the threat of war. Picture books about the wish for confrontation and violence to disappear and for peace to come as soon as possible are always being published. Korean teenagers actively debate human rights and the rights of minorities. Recently, newer Korean picture books have started to appear that aggressively oppose prejudice against minorities and sexual discrimination.
Most of all, what makes Korean picture books more attractive is the young authors who are not afraid of carrying out creative experiments. They interpret traditional narratives and images in their own ways, which enables us to imagine the picture books in the future one step quicker than others. Every year for the past decade, Korea has produced new authors that have surprised world readers. Korean picture books especially are achieving significant results in the “silent book” genre, which has been receiving attention recently. Future readers can become closer through silent books, as they sympathize with the pictures, not limited by the boundary of words. In this book fair, you can meet the picture books that are receiving the most attention in Korea. I am pleased to introduce to the visitors of the Taipei International Book Exhibition the future readers invited by the unique imaginations of Korean picture book authors.
The choice of Children's books by SIBF 2020
- Korean Children’s nonfiction
- Korean Children’s literature
- Korean Picture Books