March 6, 2019

When Spring Comes to the DMZ

What a special children’s book. I didn’t have any particular expectations for this book, but I certainly didn’t expect to be moved so deeply.

When Spring Comes to the DMZ is poignant, tender, and melancholy. It is unfortunate that Korea is still split into two countries after more than sixty-five years.

This story doesn’t focus on the history of the Korean War though. It shows the beautiful land between South and North Korea called the DMZ, or the demilitarized zone. Soldiers on both sides heavily guard this area, but people aren’t allowed inside the DMZ. This gives animals (many that are endangered in other places) an unexpected wildlife refuge. 

Journeying through each of the four seasons, the narrator tells about the animals, as well as his/her grandfather, that visit the DMZ. (Grandfather peers in from the observatory.) He loves his land and wishes he could open the gates and walk into the lovely meadows.

This hardback is sturdy, with thick pages and charming illustrations. There is a double-foldout page in the center of the book for added interest and artistry. And the information on the closing pages is educational and cohesive. The included author info is both noteworthy and inspiring. The target age is too young, in my opinion, but it serves well as an educational tool for school-aged readers.

Author: Uk-Bae Lee
Publisher: Plough
Pages: 40
Opening Line: When spring comes to the DMZ, green shoots spring up in the meadows.
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher. Opinions expressed are completely my own.

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