Go to Homepage   Linda Sue Park: The Kite Fighters


Crescent Blues Book ViewsClarion Books (Hardcover), ISBN 0-395-940419
In 15th century Seoul, Korea, tradition dictates that responsibility and privilege fall on the elder son. Talented and able, Lee Young-sup, a second child, inherits only the duty to assist his brother in the Lee family's rice business. He longs to accompany his father at the graves of ancestors, but must accept his place and keep quiet -- only Kee-sup, firstborn, inherits the right of passage. Only when Young-sup flies his kite, an extension of himself, does he forget his bitterness about playing second fiddle to Kee-sup. With his kite, Young-sup becomes master. Even Kee-sup cannot fly as well as he can.

Book: Linda sue park, the kite fightersWith a common love for kites, Young-sup and the king of Korea develop a secret friendship. The king honors Young-sup by asking him to compete in the New Year kite competition. However, when Young-sup tells Father of this good fortune, Father decides that Kee-sup must fly the kite and honor his family.

The envy created as a result of Kee-sup's unwanted, but preferential treatment causes further tension between the brothers. Can the two fulfill the obligations to which they were born and remain friends? While restricted by the society in which they live, these two brothers find ways to brave the kite fighting competitions, be true to themselves and respect each other.

Even in the aftermath of the charm and universal appeal of See Saw Girl -- Park's inspiring first book, I was unprepared for the overwhelming effect that The Kite Fighters would have on me. Historical/cultural in nature, The Kite Fighters paints a realistic picture of coming of age in Korea in 1473. However, regardless of setting, The Kite Fighters relays a timeless, compelling story that easily translates to this modern age. Brothers Young-sup and Kee-sup engage in believable brotherly battles and give the reader characters they can easily identify with.

As carefully and painstakingly as Kee-sup builds his exquisite kites, Park fashions a beautiful and durable story. Line by line, the competition between two brothers evolves into a sturdy tale that shall stand the test of time.

Lynne Remick

Click here to share your views.