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Welcome, Gloyeon’s garden is open for everyone




There is a publisher specialized in picture books. It is Gloyeon, which dreams of opening the window to the world with literature. Making picture books targeting children and teenagers aged between 13 and 18, breaking free from the idea that picture books are reserved for kids, Gloyeon is also the winner of the BIB Golden Apple Award 2019 and Lotte Publishing Culture Awards. Now, let’s take a sneak peek into what Gloyeon has to say.


Logo of Gloyeon

Logo of Gloyeon


Please introduce us to Gloyeon.


Gloyeon is a publisher that specializes in publishing picture books. Its name means “literature opening the world.” Meanwhile, in terms of operation and management, it is a publisher run by one editor who takes care of all the works. Therefore, I get to do various things - many, by the way, but they also bring me a great sense of accomplishment. Also, as there is no red tape, I can plan and run events without taking so long.
I am currently publishing picture books by Korean writers, and the number of titles published every year is around five. When I first published picture books, new writers were my partners. Now they have become experienced writers with time; they are still my precious partners. I try to encourage them to publish at least one picture book every year, adding to one book written by a new writer. If I can achieve these goals, don’t you think the number of annually published titles will grow, too?



I realized that if the writer puts their full heart into the book,
there is always somebody that recognizes it.



Please introduce us to some of the best books of Gloyeon


Well, I would like to first introduce you to My Grandma Reads Me Books (2009), written by Kim In-Ja and illustrated by Lee Jin-Hee. It is a picture book based on a real story of the writer’s family in which the granddaughter read a picture book for her grandmother for a year over the phone, and cited it out loud for visitors at her 80th birthday. This book won several awards including “Outstanding Book Award Winner” in 2010. In particular, it was also chosen as the most beautiful picture book in China in 2015.
One Morning (2012) by Lee Jin-Hee is also one of my favorites. It describes a story where a deer that lost one of its horns gets to recover from the pain in lovely pictures. All the European readers I met at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair said they were so happy flipping through the pages. However, it is sad that the copyright was only sold to Asian countries, including Japan, Taiwan, China, and Vietnam.
One Quiet Sunday (2017) by Lee Sun-Mi is also a meaningful picture book to me. It shows the different perspectives of family members or generations as they go through an incident that took place on one Sunday morning. From the age point of view, it clearly but humorously depicts the differences the children, parents, and grandmother experience from their vertical relationship. At the same time, the horizontal relationship with friends is covered as well. In 2018, the book won the Sejong Award of the Publication Industry Promotion Agency of Korea (KPIPA) for literature.


<My Grandma Reads Me Books>

<One Morning>

<One Quiet Sunday>

My Grandma Reads Me Books, One Morning, One Quiet Sunday


Various writers can be found on Gloyeon’s website. If there is a yardstick or value that Gloyeon pursues when selecting writers or works, what would it be?


Well, I prefer works in which writers reflect their interpretation of the story into the pictures. When I begin working with writers after finding their book interesting in the first place, I get to be more fond of the writers themselves. In this course, I naturally get to understand the writers better and become friends with them. Also, I think I can have a deeper understanding of the creative ideas of them too. What’s more, as we get to continue our partnership throughout the following years, the relationship grows, which in fact eventually led to the pool of writers I have today.
I believe that writers also choose the publishers of their choice. I work in all directions as an editor and a manager to help writers trust my company as a publisher that can best capture their intentions and expressions in picture books. I think this is what made writers choose Gloyeon as their partner. Even though I may lack in things like marketing compared to big publishers, I am always thankful for the partner writers for having faith in Gloyeon.


There is also this section “1318 Picture Books” in one corner of the website. What kind of books are 1318 Picture Books? And what are the representative works?


“1318” means age: from 13 to 18 years old. I wanted to make picture books for teenagers, and this motivated me to name the series “1318 Picture Books.” To be more specific, I thought this up when my high schooler daughter began to have less time for reading books due to the overload of school work. I thought that a picture book that she can quickly read through during recess would be enough. It was around 2012, and the picture book market then was dominated by the idea that readers can only be children. Since then, a picture book association was set up in Korea and announced that the readership of picture books is anyone “aged from 0 to 100.” Here, I got to think, “Is it necessary to distinguish picture books from one another depending on the age of readers?” Even though the 1318 Picture Books series ended, the already published ones are steadily sought by readers.


What has Gloyeon achieved since it was established in 2004?


Wow, it’s been a long time. I also had published various types of books aiming to become a general publisher until 2008. But now I get to think that it was all a journey towards finding Gloyeon’s identity.
Gloyeon’s mindset changed from 2018. I got to have a slightly different resolution towards picture book publication. Since then, all the picture books I published won awards in contests such as the Biennial of Illustration Batislava (BCBF) or have been listed on the International Board on Books for Young People.
To be more specific, The Skirt That Spreads to the End of the World by Myung Soo-Jung won the BIB Golden Apple Award 2019, and The Great Apaturailia by Ji-Eun was designated as the “Illustrator of the Year” in the BCBF 2020. Plus, It’s You by Regina was chosen as one of the Silent Books by the IBBY in 2019.
In Korea, I Like Music for My Eyes by Myung Soo-Jung won the main prize at the Lotte Publishing Culture Awards. Each and every page of the book was processed with epoxy (Vanish) to emphasize the intention of the writer which was to help the hearing-impaired readers to feel the melody of the piano and saved the play in a QR code for ordinary readers to have a synesthetic experience. With this book, I realized that if the writer puts their full heart into the book, there is always somebody that recognizes it.


<The Skirt That Spreads to the End of the World>

<The Great Apaturailia>

The Skirt That Spreads to the End of the World, The Great Apaturailia


<It’s You>

<I Like Music for My Eyes>

It’s You, I Like Music for My Eyes


Would there be a way to communicate with overseas readers along with domestic readers?


Well, there is a saying that you need the effort of the whole village to raise a kid. I think it is the same with books. Books are also made with the love and attention of the readers from all different walks of life. As I have been giving free lectures at bookstores in town, I could feel that those little bookstores are like the heart, the vein, and the artery of the reading culture in the region. The bond with the residents that only neighborhood bookstores can have is surely attractive. So Gloyeon always prioritizes being open-minded and caring for them while building solidarity with them at the same time.
Furthermore, Gloyeon has been choosing one to five readers every year since 2017 and gives them the title “Gloyeon Beautiful Reader.” It is a meeting that seeks for long-lasting solidarity between the publisher and readers. We have been strengthening our ties as colleagues even outside the company by having regular meetings throughout the year; it is my ultimate goal to invite 100 readers to this group one day. Also, I try to communicate with many readers on social media such as Instagram and Facebook, and through our website. As Gloyeon is serviced in both Korean and English, I believe that overseas readers can have easier access to our works. I have also uploaded a book trailer in the two languages on Youtube.
International Book Fairs are where Gloyeon meets mosts of the readers in person. In particular, Gloyeon has been participating in Bologna Children’s Book Fair every year, and many readers come visit our booth and take new titles. I am even thinking of making “Gloyeon Beautiful Reader – Global.” Haha.


The phrase “We make picture books with the mind of a gardener taking care of a beautiful garden.” is quite impressive. What motivated you to establish a one-person publishing company?


I began publishing when I thought I want to make books suitable for my kids’ different stages of life as a mother. My husband helped me with his experience in editing, but as I did not know the role of an editor at that time, it was quite confusing in the beginning. I think around that time I saw an interview by the chief editor of a French publisher L’ecole des Loisirs when he came to Korea in 1999 where he said “Editors are like a gardener. Sow, water, weed, and put love into the garden, and you will be the one who reaps the fruits.”
His idea that if the writer is a tree, the publisher is a garden where those trees take roots. In this aspect, I began to think that as an editor, I am a gardener who waits and takes care of the trees so that they can grow up with their own unique colors.



First and foremost, I want to make picture books
the writer him or herself finds most loving and precious.



Last question. What is the final goal of Gloyeon?


Gloyeon dreams of helping writers with different characteristics to grow up to be marvelous flowers and trees, and providing a place for readers to come, be relaxed and refreshed in the beautiful Gloyeon garden designed by all the writers. As trees, flowers, and fruits are all different in shapes and sizes, I want to make picture books that fully respect the different talents of writers and have them wholly reflected in the book.
First and foremost, I want to make picture books the writer him or herself finds most loving and precious. If the writer loves the book he/she made, readers will definitely respond to that love someday. I mean all the readers across the world!
I had a chance to study publishing in a British graduate school in 2014. The first thing I did as I came back to Korea was asking Lee Jin-Hee to draw the garden of Gloyeon that I had been dreaming of. Her work well shows what Gloyeon pursues. Now Gloyeon’s partner writers and picture books will grow day by day, and so does the garden. I will continue putting the utmost effort into making the garden as beautiful as it can be as a happy gardener. So, please, no matter where you are, stop by Gloyeon when you feel like reading picture books. Welcome to the Gloyeon garden.


<The Gloyeon Garden>, Lee Jin-Hee

“The Gloyeon Garden”, Lee Jin-Hee


* Website - www.gloyeon.com
* Facebook - @gloyeonpublishing
* Instagram - @gloyeon
* Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPAZ976kWIXhjBXvLM14j_A


Organized by Kim Moon-Soo


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