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The Ocean Calls: A Haenyeo Mermaid Story

Dayeon wants to be a haenyeo, a free diver, 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 breathtaking picture book, with luminous illustrations by muralist Jess X. Snow, is a classic in the making, celebrating intergenerational bonds, finding courage in the face of fear, and connecting with our natural world.

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"After an earlier attempt at swimming, 'water had filled her ears and nose, burned her eyes, and stung her skin.' Grandma shows patience and faith as she listens to her granddaughter’s anxiety, then responds: 'Can’t you hear what the waves are saying? They’re calling to us to come home'.... Sturdy prose by Cho (Rice from Heaven) highlights a segment of Korean society whose women preserve a vibrant tradition of enterprise, stamina, and cooperation, and Grandma shines as a kind of generous real-life superhero." — Publishers Weekly

Product Details

Recommended Age 5 - 8
Author Tina Cho
Illustrator Jess X. Snow
ISBN 1984814869
Publication Date Aug 4, 2020
Publisher Kokila
Language English