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Project Mulberry

Project Mulberry. Park, Linda Sue; Clarion Books, 2005.

Grade Level: 6-8

ISBN 0618477861 $16.00 hardback

 

Winner of the 2005 Chicago Tribune Young Adult Fiction Prize

Reading Level: 4.3

Interest Level: 4-7

Lexile: 690

 

Synopsis: Through a Wiggles, an after-school club, project, Julia, a Korean-American girl, and her friend Patrick learn how to grow silkworms and make silk. Julia learns to appreciate he heritage and about how prejudice can affect relationships. In between chapters are conversations between the author and the main character.

 

General Review: Park’s story draws the reader in with believable characters and events. Each chapter leaves the reader wanting to find out what happens next and looking forward to the delightful banter between the author and Julia, the main character. The dialogue between Julia and the author add insight into the story and how to write a book.

 

Themes: Friendship, Family life, Authorship, Prejudices, Korean Americans, Silkworms, Farming.

 

Author Info

Author’s Website:
http://www.lspark.com/

 

Article on SIRS Discoverer:

Collison, Cathy. Meet Linda Sue Park: Her Library Card is Her Passport. YAK'S CORNER. Sept. 12, 2002

 

Discussion Questions

  1. What happens to make Julia wish that she isn’t Korean?
  2. Why does Julia not want to do the silkworm project?
  3. If Linda Sue Park had written a conversation between chapters 15 and 16 what do you think they would have said?
  4. Why didn’t Julia tell Patrick sooner that she didn’t want to do the silkworm project? How would the story have been different if she had?
  5. Look up the words prejudice and racism. What are the differences between those two words? Were there any examples of either in the story? What would be some real life examples from history?

 

Activities

  1. Design your own Wiggles project. (Standard 3, Benchmark 4; Standard 7, Benchmark 1)
  2. Bring in a visitor that does embroidery to give a demonstration. Buy small embroidery kits and let students try. (Standard 7, Benchmark 1)
  3. Make your own Kimchee so students can taste it for themselves. Do a class graph to show how many do and do not like Kimchee. (Standard 7, Benchmark 1; Standard 9, Benchmark 1)

 

Here is a recipe:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_27620,00.html?rsrc=search

 

Quick Spicy Kimchee courtesy of Tyler Florence, Food 911

1 head Napa cabbage, about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds
1 /4 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons hot chili paste (recommended: Srirachi Hot Chili Paste)
1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 scallions, finely sliced

Remove outer leaves from cabbage. Cut cabbage in quarters and remove the tough inner core. Slice across sections into 1/2-inch slices. Put into a colander, add salt, and mix well. Place over a bowl and let drain, covered, until wilted, about 2 hours.

In a large bowl combine the vinegar and sugar and stir to dissolve. Add the chili paste, ginger, garlic, and scallions and stir. Rinse the salt off the cabbage with a couple of changes of water. Dry well and add to the vinegar mixture; stir well to combine. Put into a sterilized glass jar and pack the cabbage down; add enough water to cover. Close the jar and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. This is spicy and gets spicier the longer it sits - add or subtract chili paste to your taste.

 

  1. Grow your own silkworms (or something else such as chicken eggs or butterflies) and keep a diary like Linda’s father. (Standard 3, Benchmark 1)
  2. Write a conversation between the chapters for the author and a main character for another favorite book. (Standard 3, Benchmark 3)

 

Similar Books for further reading:

Park, Linda Sue. A Single Shard

Park, Linda Sue. When My Name was Keoko

Peck, Richard. A Year Down Yonder

Curtis, Christopher Paul. Bud, Not Buddy

DiCamillo, Kate. Tale of Despereaux

Avi. Crispin: Cross of the Lead

 

Books for further reading on Korean culture:

Choi, Sook Nyul. Year of the Impossible Goodbyes (and sequels)

Wong, Janet. Suitcase Full of Seaweed and Other Poems