The Kite Fighters

by Linda Sue Park

Dell Yearling, February, 2002.
Trade paperback, 136 pages.
ISBN: 0440418135
Ages 9-12

The Kite Fighters by Linda Sue Park Linda Sue Park is an author who should be welcomed by all young readers. Ms. Park speaks of the timeless problems of growing up: relating first to the family and later to the world that lies beyond. She gives an interesting and well-researched portrait of a historical period which will be of interest not only to the reader who comes from a western culture, but also to those who must deal with being from an Asian culture and living in a western-dominated culture.

The Kite Fighters introduces us to two Korean brothers who lived in medieval Seoul, in the home of what must have been a middle-class family. The two brothers are competing just like brothers do everywhere, and their main interest is in kite flying and kite building as a sport. Kee-Sup, the older brother, had received a kite for his birthday at the New Year's celebration. Everyone was counted as being a year older at New Year's, regardless of the month in which one's birth actually took place. Now, the oldest brother must represent the family in a kite contest and the younger brother, Young-Sup must watch. A chance encounter with the boy king brings its own kind of stress. Being a boy himself, the king commands that the boys make him a kite. From this moment a relationship builds not only between the two brothers, but between Young-Sup and the lonely boy king. The story of how each boy works out his own relationship to life both inside the family and in the only world they will ever know is inspiring. The Kite Flyers is sure to be enjoyed by young readers for its honesty and the adventure of entering another time and place.

--Sarah Reaves White

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This review was published in the April, 2002 of The Internet Writing Journal.

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