The Firekeeper's Son by Linda Sue Park

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In Korea in the early 1800s, news from the countryside reached the king by means of signal fires. On one mountaintop after another, a fire was lit when all was well. If the king did not see a fire, that meant trouble, and he would send out his army. Linda Sue Park's first picture book for Clarion is about Sang-hee, son of the village firekeeper. When his father is unable to light the fire one night, young Sang-hee must take his place. Sang-hee knows how important it is for the fire to be lit-but he wishes that he could see soldiers . . . just once. Mountains, firelight and shadow, and Sunhee's struggle with a hard choice are rendered in radiant paintings, which tell their own story of a turning point in a child's life.

About Linda Sue Park

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Linda Sue Park was born in Urbana, Illinois on March 25, 1960. She received a B.A. in English from Stanford University. After graduating, she worked as a public-relations writer for a major oil company for two years. She obtained advanced degrees in literature from Trinity College, Dublin in Ireland and from the University of London. Before becoming a full-time author, she held numerous jobs including working for an advertising agency, teaching English as a second language to college students, and working as a food journalist. Her first book, Seesaw Girl, was published in 1999. Her other books include The Kite Fighters, Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo (Poems), and A Single Shard, which won the 2002 Newbery Medal. She also wrote Storm Warning, which is the ninth book in the 39 Clues series. Julie Downing has written and/or illustrated over 30 picture books. For Clarion, she has illustrated The Firekeepere(tm)s Son by Linda Sue Park, among others. Her books have received a Parentse(tm) Choice Award and a New York Public Library Best Books Award. She lives in San Francisco, California. For more information visit
Published April 20, 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 45 pages
Genres: History, Travel, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Tempted to draw the soldiers, and then almost unable to carry out his mission because he drops a coal and another burns out, Sang-hee kindles the fire at last, and takes pride in being, as his father says, "part of the king's guard just as the soldiers are."

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