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Korean Publishers


Kidari Publishing Co.

Ever Captivating Picture Books that Fascinate Readers




The best thing about picture books is that they can be appreciated by any age group, from kids to adults. Furthermore, they can be interpreted differently, not to mention give different impressions depending on the age of the readers, gender, and background. Kidari Publishing produces a variety of fun picture books that give pleasure across the generations from 0- to 80-year-olds through its brands “Kidari,” “MoraeR,” and “A Very Good Day.” Following is an interview with Kim Sang-Il, president of Kidari Publishing Co.. This publisher has been growing up with its readers since 2004 as a midsized publisher of picture books that presents fun books to children and gives adults a break and adds comfort to their demanding lives.



Please introduce Kidari Publishing Co.


Kidari Publishing Co. was founded in 2004. We published about 10 titles a year in the early years, and today it’s gone up to about 25, including picture books, children’s books, and non-fiction books. In view of the year of establishment and the annual publications, Kidari Publishing Co. can be called a medium-sized publisher specializing in children’s books among around 100 other publishers in the same field. While we put the emphasis on keeping our readership stable, Kidari Publishing Co. aims to become Korea’s representative publishing house specializing in children’s books in the coming years.


What do you think are “good books” and “good writing”?


Our primary readers are children 0-13 years of age, including toddlers and elementary school students. The focus may differ depending on the readers you target. We think books should be entertaining to read to entice children. No matter how helpful a book is, with as many good lessons it provides, it will not be welcome if readers do not find interest in it. For this reason, Kidari Publishing thinks that good books are the ones that motivate children to be interested, corresponding to their level. We seek “enjoyment” in various materials when planning books and recruiting authors.


What do you see when choosing authors and works?


We believe it is important that artworks touch the hearts of their consumers (audience, listeners, readers, etc.) regardless of their form. However, books are produced differently from other works of art. As books are supplied to the market through a mass-production system called printing, it is essential to secure advertising and merchandising rather than scarcity. Like I said before, boring books don’t get read. In this regard, we give priority to writers who create amusing works that make readers happy.



We believe that “fun” is the number one factor in appealing to children.



Please tell us about the three brands of Kidari Publishing Co.


The first brand, “Kidari,” is the main brand. Kidari publishes books in various fields such as picture books, children’s books, young adult fiction, non-fiction picture books, and liberal art books for children.
Established in 2017, “MoraeR” is a brand specialized in picture books. Compared to 10 years ago, or at least 5 years ago, more picture books with remarkable creativity are released in the marketplace, with a broader readership encompassing teenagers and adults. And Kidari Publishing also began with a brand centered on picture books to present picture books with extraordinary creativity with the market trend.
“A Very Good Day” is a brand for adults. There were times when we had the opportunity to publish content for adults through various channels, and that was the start of “A Very Good Day.” As Kidari Publishing has been making children’s books with illustrations, we tried to build our strength in pictures and publish books about hairstyling and traveling where illustrations take up a larger proportion, rather than text-oriented books.


What do you think is the charming point of picture books?


The greatest charm in picture books is that they can be enjoyed by all generations. There are many picture books that were originally made for 3-year-olds but are also enjoyed by 10-, 15-, 20-, 30-, 40-, and even 50-year-olds, where they relate themselves to the story, have fun, and be touched.
Picture books are like poetry. They must be able to show the whole story with only a few pages, even in relation to children’s books and fiction. But this does not mean that the message that authors deliver, pleasure, and impression can be weighed less.


Are there books you would like to recommend to our subscribers?


There are three books that perfectly match the keyword “K-book.”


1. From Busan to London by Train
From Busan to London by Train is about a family that travels from Busan to London to celebrate Grandma’s birthday. It is a non-fiction picture book that makes readers feel the travel mood through its storytelling technique, explaining the information of every country they visit. Korea is located in the easternmost part of the Eurasian continent, although it is actually like an island because of division. It offers great morale to readers who look forward to the day when the two Koreas will be united, linking the furthest points of the Eurasian continent.


2. An Old Seal Grandmother
The story of Jeju haenyeos (divers), designated UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2016, and the Irish legend of the Selkies came together to create a new story. An Old Seal Grandmother is a story composed of beautiful pictures and texts describing the life of haenyeos living in Jeju, an island of an extraordinary ecosystem, nature, and peoples that co-exist.


3. The Gyuri Goes to an Art Museum
Gyuri thinks of art museums as boring places as she visits one with her mother. But all of a sudden she is pulled into one of the pictures hanging on the wall, where she has so much fun playing inside until she returns to reality. The Gyuri Goes to an Art Museum is a typical fantasy picture book depicting the imaginative world of children. You will also experience the sheer beauty of a Korean folktale.





From Busan to London by Train, An Old Seal Grandmother, The Gyuri Goes to an Art Museum



Can you give us a brief walk through your new titles?


1. Holidays
This is a work of Lee Myeong-Ae, who was chosen twice as one of the “Selected Illustrators” at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, was awarded with the BIB Plaque, won the Green Island prize at NAMI Concours, and is invited to international events such as the 2019 Goteborg Book Fair and the 2021 Asia Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC) held in Singapore as the representative picture book author of Korea. She convincingly described how the body and mind slowly relaxes while on vacation and are reloaded with energy at the end only by images. This is a book that allows readers to review the meaning of “vacations” in our lives.

* K-Book Trends Vol. 38 – Interview with author Lee Myeong-Ae


2. Rice, Bread, and Noodle
Rice, Bread, and Noodle is a non-fiction picture book where you can see different types of rice, bread, and noodles across Asia in one look. Readers can naturally learn about cultural diversity by learning about different yet similar dishes and food cultures in Asian countries.
Did you know that Nasi Goreng, Biryani, and Pilaf, which look like other foods, are in fact the same “fried rice” as the Kimchi fried rice? Did you know that Vietnam’s Banh mi sandwich and Turkey’s Kebab Doner, more commonly found in Korea nowadays, are similar? Also, did you know that there are similar foods to Jjiamppong (Korean noodle soup with red, spicy seafood- or pork-based broth) and Japchae (stir-fried glass noodles and vegetables) in Uzbekistan and the Philippines? You can discover interesting facts on the similarities and differences between Asian cuisine in the book!


3. A Grandmother Storyteller’s Adventure
Adventure is what kids love best. The storyteller grandmother’s childhood experiences tell ambiguous stories, believe it or not, about an enigmatic island, a cannibal octopus, and outlandish islanders. Kids can’t resist but be absorbed in the fun stories of the grandmother. A Grandmother Storyteller’s Adventure is a story of adventure, filled with various elements of the power of stories.





Holidays, Rice, Bread, and Noodle, A Grandmother Storyteller’s Adventure



Please tell us about the brand “7080 picture books” and some of its books for grownups.


A total of twelve books published under the series title Story Star Candy Series, which we have developed for all generations to read and communicate with one another, set in the daily lives in the industrialization era after the 1960s, including the lives and stories of individuals, families, and neighbors.


1. Letter Grandma
It is becoming increasingly difficult to find letters around us as e-mails and social media are developed. It’s not something specific to Korea. The book Letter Grandma is a comforting story of the family, of people, and of the time when people communicated mainly by letters.


2. Catch a Mouse
It’s a story of when Korea was infested with mice from the 1960s to the 1980s, campaigning to catch and hunt them in houses.


3. Moon Train
It describes the social background of the 1970s, when it was common for family members to live apart to find work. The thrill and fear of a child taking the train alone, the child’s idea of love for the family, and the caring mind of the parents for the child are well described in the story. Lyrical images of Korean paintings and poetic sentences will capture your attention.





Letter Grandma, Catch a Mouse, Moon Train



Why did Kidari Publishing publish picture books about the 1970s and 80s, and why do you think that the people born in that period should read picture books?


We often feel nostalgic in our daily lives, regardless of the rapidity of modernization. Marketing strategies have targeted such a phenomenon in various fields such as TV drama, products, services, and travel. Realizing our ideas for making books – especially children’s books and picture books – about nostalgia was Story Star Candy Series. The 12 topics, including cartoon cafes, sprinkler carts, anti-rat drives, letters, and baseball, are the best mirrors that reflect how people lived in that period. They bring nostalgia to adults about their childhood and give children a glimpse of how their parents and grandparents lived as young children. The basic idea is that we want to give the two generations the opportunity to communicate through these books.
People born in the seventies and eighties would be 40 to 50 years old now. They did not grow up with picture books. I hope that people will develop a new idea that picture books are not reserved for children. They are a medium that offers some pause and relaxation to tired adults’ lives.



I hope people don’t believe that picture books are just for kids.



Any last comments?


Today, Korea is showing talent in a variety of artistic fields worldwide. The picture books joined other leaders of K culture, such as films, K-pop, art, and music. Picture books have less of a language barrier. Creative Korean picture book authors with great potential are spreading their wings worldwide. You can count on them to grow into the future. Kidari Publishing will work hard on supporting them as well.



Blog http://blog.naver.com/kidaribook
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Organized by Lee Ji-Hyeon



#Kidari#Picture Book#MoraeR#Very Good Day
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