Monday, January 3, 2022

Reading Through History: The Kite Fighters by Linda Sue Park (2002)

In 1473 Seoul, brothers Young-sup and Kee-sup love kites, and together, with Young-sup's flying capabilities and Kee-sup's design skills, they are a great kite fighting team. When the king (a boy himself) commissions them to build and fly a kite on his behalf in the upcoming New Year competition, they are deeply honored and very excited. Their father, however, will only allow Kee-sup to participate, as tradition dictates that all privileges are given to first-born sons. The brothers must find a way to honor their cultural tradition while also preserving their own relationship and pleasing their king. 

I had no expectations at all for this book when I borrowed the audiobook from the library, and I was totally blown away by how good it is. It's a short book, but the beautiful writing brings to life Ancient Korean culture in full color and detail. The characters, too, are well-developed, and I really enjoyed the interactions between the two brothers and the king. It was so interesting to see young boys from very different backgrounds coming together over a common interest in kites. All the details of kite fighting were also fascinating, and even though I've never seen a kite fight, I can picture one thanks to Park's lovely descriptions.

I look forward to reading this book aloud to my kids at some point. The language and story both will be such a pleasure to share with them. 

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