King Sejong Invents an Alphabet by Carol Kim, illustrated by Cindy Kang. Albert Whitman, 2021. 9780807541616
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
Format: ARC (10/21 pub date)
What did you like about the book? In 14th century Korea, very few people could read or write. Besides access to reading material, one obstacle was the exceedingly complex Chinese alphabet, with thousands of characters to memorize. When King Sejong succeeded his father as ruler of Korea, he set about creating “Hangeul.” It is an alphabet made to be learned easily, as it has only 28 letters, and is based on the shapes of a person’s mouth, tongue and teeth when speaking. How ingenious! It is now the country’s official alphabet.
I think kids will be interested in learning about a “created,” versus evolved alphabet, as well as a story about a kid who hopes to change the ways things were always done, in the interest of his country. Kid friendly text and art help to tell the story, which is bolstered by end matter on Hangeul and King Sejong.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No
To whom would you recommend this book? For units on Korea and alphabets in general, for ages 6-9.
Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? Biography
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Maybe
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: August 17, 2021