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Vol.23 Spring 2014

Dreams Come to LifeThrough Picture Books


The world is growing smaller. We can travel to a country on the other side of the world injust one day. There are plenty of ways to talk to someone anywhere in the world if you setyour mind to it. We can easily access information from all over the world. It seems there isno place we cannot reach, and nothing we cannot learn in this world.But is that really true? There are times when we really do not know anything aboutsomething that is closest to us-something we think we know better than anything else.Something we do not know, but we think we do, is children. It has been said that thelamentation, “Children these days . . .” was found on a Sumerian clay tablet written 5,000years ago. Those same words are uttered today.Adults who were once children themselves lament that they do not understand childrentoday. Why is it that children are so misunderstood? How can adults so completely forget thefact that they, too, were children once? Are children not the most important subject for us tostudy, understand and communicate with? Is it not important to understand how childrenare prone to be lonely, sad, greedy, vulnerable, and fearful–and how we were once the sameway?We should remember that when we were young, how easily we were pleased with littlethings, how willingly we offered to share what was ours with another, how quickly ourpsychic wound healed, how fast we made friends, and how we could always discover newenergy and hope. On the other hand, we should also acknowledge how heartless, one-sidedand oppressive adults can be. If we can be faithful protectors and mentors to our children,should we not be more devoted to these tasks than to anything else? Would the world notbe a better place if adults and children came to understand each other better, forgiving thenegative and embracing the positive? Could misunderstandings and quarrels between tribesand nations not be resolved in the same way?Children’s book writers are those who dream such dreams and children’s books reveal thedreams of writers. In this special issue, we present you with the dreams of Korean children'sbook writers. Today, Korean picture books are drawing worldwide attention. More andmore Korean illustrators are receiving the Bologna Ragazzi Award or Biennial of IllustrationBratislava (BIB) awards. Among them, we would like to introduce six young artists in thisissue. Through unique and experimental works, they show us where we are as a society,how children and adults can come to understand each other, and how they find the desireddirection for the future. Through their ingenuous illustrations, you can see how children’sdreams bloom and fade. You can find the beauty of a tranquil city in their illustrationsinfluenced by Eastern traditional painting. At the same time, you can sense an apocalypticwarning in incredibly detailed images, depicting a dark future. You can meet a lovable child,moved to tears after hearing about other children in the world who lead difficult lives. Youcan read a touching story about a father who devotes himself to raising his children, and ason who reminisces about his affectionate father. From time to time, _list has introducedpicture books of Korea in previous issues, but this special issue is special indeed. You won’tbe disappointed. 


by Kim Inae Sujung

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