Project Mulberry

Classmates and best friends Julia and Patrick team up for a school project on silkworms.

Through the project’s conception to its conclusion, the author explores family relationships, friendships, cultural differences, and racism, while giving readers a fascinating education on silkworms. The author draws on her own childhood experiences and upbringing to offer a first-hand look at Korean Americans and their customs. She also addresses racism in a non-threatening manner, and opens a door of opportunity for discussion.

My only grumble with the book was Julia’s attitude towards her little brother. Her nickname for him was “snotbrain”, and she was always moaning about how much he bugged her (granted, her attitude did improve some by the end of the book). Evidently the character Julia did her own fair share of bugging people, as seen by the “creative dialoguing” between her and the author at the end of each chapter. Mrs. Park happens to live in our hometown, so we went to hear her speak at the library recently. She explained this character Julia drove her crazy, and was constantly talking to her as she wrote the story. She included several of these comical “conversations” in the book.

It was a thrill for our family to actually meet Linda Sue Park – it’s not often my kids and I get the chance to meet the writers of the books we’re reading. I was impressed by Mrs. Park’s sweet and humble spirit, and am looking forward to reading her latest release: Archer’s Quest.

Linda Sue Park is the author of several books for children, including 2002 Newbery Winner A Single Shard.

Mrs. Park, an avid reader, has an archive of the books she’s read on her blog.

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