Five Finds – Books with Korean characters

I was recently asked about books for kids and teens featuring Korean protagonists in contemporary settings. The patron had found books on Korean fairy tales, legends, culture and history, but was looking for fictional titles featuring Korean children with whom her own urban Korean-Canadian children might relate. Here are a few of the books we found, ranging from picture books to teen novels.

All annotations have been taken from the library catalog.

1. The Have a Good Day Cafe – Frances Park


Mike’s grandmother, who has moved from Korea to live with Mike and his family in the United States, inspires him to suggest an idea to help their floundering food cart business.

2. Bee-Bim Bop – Linda Sue Park 


A child, eager for a favorite meal, helps with the shopping, food preparation, and table setting.

3. Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream – Jenny Han


Korean American fourth-grader Clara Lee longs to be Little Miss Apple Pie, and when her luck seems suddenly to change for the better, she overcomes her fear of public speaking and enters the competition.

4. The Detention Club – David Yoo


Sixth-grader Peter Lee, in a desperate attempt to regain the popularity he had in elementary school, discovers that serving detention can win him important friends, much to the dismay of his over-achieving eighth-grade sister, Sunny.

5. Good Enough – Paula Yoo


A Korean American teenager tries to please her parents by getting into an Ivy League college, but a new guy in school and her love of the violin tempt her in new directions.

As usual, let me know if there are any great books featuring Korean children and teens that you’d like to share!


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