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Korean Publishers

 

A Thousand Hopes

The Butterfly Effect: the Wind of Reading Sows Hope in Children

 

2022.06.07

 

One of the good habits parents should help their children build is reading. Reading develops a child’s thinking abilities and creativity, which serves as stepping stones to leap towards a greater future. Therefore, it is very important to help children read good books and build a reading habit. A Thousand Hopes is a publisher specializing in children’s books, which has been publishing books with the hope that children will develop the habit of reading and enjoying books. And it has been creating a butterfly effect, where the wind of reading it arouses opens the path for children’s growth full of hope. Following is an interview with Choi Jin, CEO of A Thousand Hopes, which has been a good book friend for children, expanding the horizon of children’s books.

 

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Logo of A Thousand Hopes

 

 

Please introduce to the readers overseas what kind of publisher A Thousand Hopes is. Also, please tell us the meaning of the name “A Thousand Hopes.”

 

A Thousand Hopes is a publisher of children’s books established in January 2011. In Korean, baram (the publisher’s name is read as Cheongaeui (meaning thousand) Baram) has two meanings - “wind” and “hope.” The name was made to mean “a thousand hopes for our children.” We make books with light hopes such as “Hope you have many friends” and “Hope you like nature.” Nowadays, we go further and hope that “a thousand dreams of children toward the world” are put in each book we make. The world we pursue is where there are a thousand children and a thousand dreams.

 

What was the reason A Thousand Hopes chose to mainly target children and teenagers?

 

Before I set up A Thousand Hopes, I worked as a marketer for children’s books at a publisher for a long time. Then I started my own business, choosing a field I was particularly familiar with. But the reason A Thousand Hopes continued to be a children’s book publisher for 12 years is because we love children’s books. It is not common for children’s books to receive a spotlight like those for aged readers or become bestsellers, but I believe that it’s a genre that ought to be recognized if you publish good content with consistency. It is also a great delight to watch our readers grow. So A Thousand Hopes will keep on focusing on children’s books so that our books can help them grow.

 

 

We hope that our books give wings to “a thousand dreams of children toward the world.”

 

 

Your books cover a variety of topics. What is the standard you have for choosing a manuscript?

 

Any publisher will have similar answers to that. First, we think about whether it is a topic for children. Then, we see if it is fun enough to read to the end, as it enables children to empathize with the story and learn something from it. It’s the same for all the other genres, whether literary, humanities, practical, or young adults. As childhood is an important period in life, we try to catch two rabbits at once – entertainment and growth. If we were to add one more thing, it is the perspective on the topic. Too biased manuscripts or unverified arguments cannot be included in the books we make.

 

A Thousand Hopes is also famous for its excellent, colorful picture books. What do you prioritize when publishing picture books in particular?

 

As we publish picture books that we are lured to, it is hard to decide clearly how we choose one for publication. But the first thing we look at is whether our young readers can understand the book and enjoy the pictures and the story together. It would be even better if the book includes a social message or viewpoint based on needs and diversity.
Also, picture books we pursue are “books read and empathized with by the guardians and children together,” and for that, we need the books to be understandable for the young readers. Also, as they are picture “books,” both pictures and stories should reach a certain level of quality. And we hope that picture books made through such efforts are read by children around the world, helping them create their own stories while reading them again and again.

 

They say that the type of books children and teenagers read and how they build the reading habit have a great influence on living a life close to books. Therefore, A Thousand Hopes might feel more responsible in this aspect, and must be more careful and strict about publishing books. What do you think about this?

 

We have a mission to make “books that befriend children’s healthy growth.” We believe that there is a realm that can only be reached by books and cannot be replaced by other content. As growing children have no set values in their life yet, they might be more susceptible to each of the books they read. So, we would like to make books that provide and teach more important things than school grades, such as having a moment to think, the attitude to look at the minds of myself and others, and the power to learn by oneself.

 

 

We hope to expand our field of publication to cover all the children’s books by making better books reach more children.

 

 

A Thousand Hopes recently hosted a children’s poetry contest and has been steadily opening special classes related to picture books. It is also known that you support all sorts of library events, such as the “100th Children’s Day Celebration.” What do you think is the effect of running various book-related programs on readers or publishers?

 

A Thousand Hopes is famous for running many events. We go if anyone calls us. The reason is simple. It is fun. Readers feel the “joy of doing activities themselves,” and we are reinvigorated by their response.
We recently hosted a children’s poem contest titled “Tina’s Paper House” under the slogan of “Find a Child Poet,” and received such a good response from the participants. It was where the children read the children’s poem collection Tina’s Paper House and expressed their feelings through the poems they wrote. After the contest, we received many messages from the participants, thanking us for setting the stage for children to build on their dreams and respecting them as “child poets.” When we host events at libraries on Children’s Day, we get feedback that our support at the exhibition of original pictures and images at the photo zone helped the guests enjoy the program. It is always a joyful experience to communicate with readers in person and exchange each other’s minds.

 

What are some of the popular books that A Thousand Hopes can proudly recommend?

 

Let us introduce one picture book for each age. For toddlers, we recommend reading Stuck, a widely loved picture book for its compelling cover and witty story. Children feel emotions and build their thinking power through their daily life in relationships with their family and friends. It would be nice for them to think about having happy relationships as they read the book.

 

* Go to the book trailer of Stuck

 

For the first graders, we recommend We are All From Different Planets. All the friends in class have different looks, as if they were from different planets. Knowing which planet you came from is a chance to understand yourself and feel proud. Also, you will be able to respect the different looks of your friends.
Lastly, for all ages, try reading Box World. As we pursue convenience, garbage piles up, devastating the environment. It is realistically impossible to resolve the issue right away, but wouldn’t it be a good start to protecting the environment by being aware of how serious the situation is? While environmental issues are arising across the world, the book has brought about a fresh, good wind to think about them.

 

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Stuck, We are All From Different Planets, and Box World

 

 

Could you please introduce to our readers some of your newest titles?

 

A Thousand Hopes has been making new attempts, which can be found in the following two books. The first one is Will Long and Pong Become Earthlings? which is a picture book merged with comics. It vividly depicts the dark sides of our society that are commonly seen, such as fighting for sides based on various yardsticks, hate comments, and unhesitantly spoken discriminative speech. As such, there are many topics to talk about in the book, such as diversity, discrimination, and media. It is recommended for all age groups, from children to adolescents, and even adults.
The second book is the picture book A Lot of Things. This book talks about many stories through pictures. It tells readers who struggle, thinking how insignificant and trivial they are, that we can be together because we are one of the many things. The world where we are together is quite fun. You can hear the voice from your heart through beautiful pictures that open your eyes wide.

 

* Go to the book trailer of A Lot of Things

 

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Will Long and Pong Become Earthlings? and A Lot of Things

 

 

What efforts are you making to strengthen your position in the overseas market, and what kind of books have you published internationally until today? How did the local readers respond to them?

 

We participate in book fairs at home and abroad, either by ourselves or through commissions. And as the opportunity to meet face-to-face has decreased recently due to COVID-19, we have been actively participating in online video conferences. We are continuously making efforts to promote outstanding content created by Korean authors to the world, such as distributing book trailers with both Korean and English subtitles and English portfolios.
Picture books on various topics have been exported, but we would like to introduce the Pongpongi series, which was exported to the biggest number of languages. It is a picture book series composed of two volumes – Pongpongi’s Heart, which describes the vast world piglet Pongpongi met and his feelings, and Pongpongi’s Smile, which talks about the power of a smile that defeats bad things. As the series has lovable characters, clear watercolor pictures, and rich emotions, it has been widely loved in various cultures.

 

* Go to the book trailer of the Pongpongi series

 

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Pongpongi’s Heart and Pongpongi’s Smile

 

 

What are your future plans? Tell us how A Thousand Hopes plans to grow in the future.

 

We have a simple but profound goal. It is to make better books reach more children to reduce the number of children marginalized in the blind spot of reading. It is our goal to help those children meet good content and build just an average level of literacy, social skills, and language. We will continue to publish children’s books only, and expand the coverage to all the children’s books. One other hope is to make comics for children and teenage readers – just ordinary comics, not those educational or online comics.

 

 


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#A Thousand Hopes#Picture book#Children’s Day#Book trailer
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