Ypsilanti resident Kyunghee Kim
is set to publish a children's book called "See Us Bloom: Poems on Compassion, Acceptance, and Bravery" in April. Kim says it's the book "[she] wish[es] [she] had when [she] was growing up" as an 8-year-old Korean immigrant living in southeast Michigan.
"Now, there are more diverse voices and stories," Kim says. "This was like a letter to my younger self."
Kim has been a teacher in Ann Arbor Public Schools for 18 years and recently began life-coaching for adults in transition. Her own Korean-Jewish-American nephew inspired the main character in "See Us Bloom," which is told through a series of poems. She says children from age 6 through preteens should be able to relate to the book.
"The poems are centered around emotional and social health for kids, especially coming out of COVID, getting back to 'regular' life," Kim says. "There are themes around belonging, being brave, compassion, and accepting others and ourselves."
She chose the metaphor of flowers and blooming as an image that all cultures and age groups could relate to. She says many of the poems center on the idea of "blooming as a person." Kim describes family, friends, and community as the soil one is rooted in, allowing them to grow and bloom. But, she adds, "no matter how much we water something, sometimes it will just take its time and bloom out of nowhere when we're not paying attention to it."
"We have to grow at our own pace," Kim says.
Kim placed the book with publishing house Modern Marigold Books, which connected her to the book's South Korea-based illustrator, Emily Paik.
"I was really excited that I had a chance to work with another Korean artist on this book," Kim says.
The book will be published April 3 and is available for pre-order now
Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township and the project manager of On the Ground Ypsilanti. She joined Concentrate as a news writer in early 2017 and is an occasional contributor to other Issue Media Group publications. You may reach her at email@example.com.
Photos courtesy of Kyunghee Kim.
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