Photo by Angie Quantrell
Text by God
The Ocean Calls, A Haenyeo Mermaid Story
Written by Tina Cho
Illustrated by Jess X. Snow
Kokila, An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC; August 2020
I was super excited to win a copy of The Ocean Calls, A Haenyeo Mermaid Story by Tina Cho, illustrated by Jess X. Snow, from Kathy Temean’s Writing and Illustrating website. You can read more from Kathy and check out her post at https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2020/07/21/book-giveaway-the-ocean-calls-by-tina-cho/ . Thank you, Kathy and Tina!
The Ocean Calls, A Haenyeo Mermaid Story is the fascinating story of women divers who use the skills passed down from generation to generation to dive and gather the fruits of the sea. Living on Jeju Island in South Korea, the mostly mature and elderly women dive into waters off the island, up to 30 meters deep. They do not use breathing equipment and can hold their breath up to two minutes! I am amazed!
The story focuses on Dayeon, a young girl, and her grandmother, one of the diving mermaids. Grandma is trying to encourage Dayeon and teach her the skills necessary to become a Haenyeo Mermaid. I love the way the young girl struggles with the fear of jumping into the wild ocean, even as she dreams of being able to do what she sees her grandmother doing.
This engaging story is delicious! I loved learning more about a new subject, one I had never heard about before. What an encouraging picture book, one that invites readers to explore a new world with their eyes, ears, and hearts!
Why I Love This Book:
~ The story is wonderful
~ The fascination I felt as I read about Haeynyeo Mermaids
~ The underwater world of women divers
~ The illustrations bursting with color and extra details
~ The setting on and off an island of South Korea
~ The history and the traditions of generations of courageous women
~ Fabulous backmatter
A breathtaking picture book featuring a Korean girl and her haenyeo (free diving) grandmother about intergenerational bonds, finding courage in the face of fear, and connecting with our natural world.
Dayeon wants to be a haenyeo just like Grandma. The haenyeo dive off the coast of Jeju Island to pluck treasures from the sea–generations of Korean women have done so for centuries. To Dayeon, the haenyeo are as strong and graceful as mermaids. To give her strength, Dayeon eats Grandma’s abalone porridge. She practices holding her breath while they do the dishes. And when Grandma suits up for her next dive, Dayeon grabs her suit, flippers, and goggles. A scary memory of the sea keeps Dayeon clinging to the shore, but with Grandma’s guidance, Dayeon comes to appreciate the ocean’s many gifts.
Tina Cho’s The Ocean Calls, with luminous illustrations by muralist Jess X. Snow, is a classic in the making.