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A deeper world told through picture books 'Iyagikot Publishing (Story Flower)'

 

2019.06.10

 

 

Some forecast in a future not too distant, technology will develop to a point where most jobs will be replaced by artificial intelligence (AI). The jobs expected to survive this test of time are expected to be those that require the sensibility and warmth of the human touch, like artists, poets and novelists. As technological advances take place faster than ever before, publisher Iyagikot, or story flower, strives to retain the emotion and warmth that analog brings to the world since its establishment in 2012. Iyagikot is a picture book publisher and not only does it simply publish picture books, it is also a creator of art that touches people's lives.

 

 

Even if all the other books in the world are switched to digital form,
we believe picture books will stay in paper form
with all the emotion of analog intact and deliver human warmth to readers.

 

 

Please tell us what kind of publisher Iyagikot is.

 

At Iyagikot, we try to create picture books that are works of art people will want to decorate their lives with. Our goal is to have people old and young communicate and understand each other through picture books. With this aim in mind, we are making efforts to publish picture books that show class in quality by working with truthful and passionate authors. Even if all the other books in the world are switched to digital form, we believe picture books will stay in paper form with all the emotion of analog intact and deliver human warmth to readers.

 

Why does Iyagikot focus on picture books?

 

Picture books are a visual medium based on images. The images provide ample room for different analyses, while poetry creates spaces between the lines. So, as a result, picture books create opportunities for readers and creators to all tell their own stories.
As everything in the world moves faster, and the relationship from producers to consumers turns increasingly one-sided in today's capitalist world, children and adults alike are rarely given a chance to stop and think. Picture books are one of the few things in life that lend that opportunity to readers - to slow down and think.
Also, picture books are physical things that have shapes, weight and texture. Readers of picture books directly touch the books, turn the pages and decide for themselves whether to stay or go on. While reading picture books, we can carry out basic awareness functions that make mankind what it is (being curious, asking questions, thinking and realizing) with all five of our senses. We can't help but feel this work is incredibly intriguing, and this is why we create picture books.

 

Can you tell us about some of your better-known work? We're also curious as to how they've been accepted by readers.

 

As of May this year, we have published 30 books, and except two, they are all original works produced by our company. The two exceptions are one, a guide on how to make books and the other, was a book written by a Korean author we had to import the copyright from outside South Korea.
The picture book that readers have responded to the most was A Dandelion is a Dandelion(Author: Kim Jang-sung, Illustrator: Oh Hyun-gyeong) and If You Want to Eat a Watermelon (Author: Kim Jang-sung, Author: Yoo-ri). Also, their subject matter isn't for the masses, but the following books were received well by critics for their new and important attempts: The Story of Pigs (Author: Kim Jang-sung, Illustrator: Yoo-ri), An Important Problem (Author, Illustrator: Jo Won-hee), Sun-ah (Author, Illustrator: Moon In-hye), The Stories Told By Hands (Author: Kim Hye-won, Illustrator: Choi Seung-hoon), and My Dunchon Apartment (Author, Illustrator: Kim Min-jee). One of the books that we recently published that is quite important to us would also be Makdoo (Author, Illustrator: Chung Hee-sun). Aside these, we are also known for Pool (Author, Illustrator: Lee Ji-hyeon), Door (Author, Illustrator: Lee Ji-hyeon), Tooth Hunters (Author, Illustrator: Jo Won-hee), A Single Jujube (Author: Jang Suk-ju, Illustrator: Yoo-ri), Spring Spring (Author, Illustrator: Cheon Yoo-joo).

 

A Dandelion is a Dandelion(Author: Kim Jang-sung, Illustrator: Oh Hyun-gyeong) /Tooth Hunters(Author, Illustrator: Jo Won-hee)

 

Pool (Author, Illustrator: Lee Ji-hyeon) / An Important Problem (Author, Illustrator: Jo Won-hee) /Pig Story (Author: Kim Jang-sung, Illustrator: Yoo-ri)

 

We've also seen really positive feedback from outside South Korea as many of our books have been translated and sold in countries like China, the United States, France, Spain, Italy and Vietnam. A Dandelion Is A Dandelionand Tooth Huntersboth received Ragazzi awards (non-fiction special mention) at the Bologna Children's Book Fair in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Poolwas touted as one of the year's best picture books by U.S. Society Illustrators in 2015 and also recommended by the New York Times. It also received the honor of becoming book of the year from U.S.-based Young Adult Library Services Association and 'Best Book' on NPR that year. In 2016, it was selected as the best-translated book of the year by IBBY in Sweden. Sun-ahwas named best picture book of the year by the U.K.-based Association of Illustrators in 2018.
At home, A Single Jujubereceived the Korea Publishing Culture Award in 2017 and 2018, If You Want to Eat A Watermelonwas the recipient of an annual book award on for environmental publications from a South Korean environment-related corporation.

 

 

The values we strive for can be summarized by our catchphrase,
"Communication, empathy, peace! Iyagikot that blooms together".
Our values can also be defined as 'works of art that adorn lives'.

 

 

Selecting the right authors and illustrators who can reflect your values must be quite important. Do you have special criteria you look for?

 

Iyagikot was created by our publisher, who taught classes in creating picture books for a long time, to bring education and publishing together. Naturally, many of the students who attended the lectures have now become our authors and illustrators.
I think the values we strive for can be summarized by our catchphrase, "Communication, empathy, peace! Iyagikot that blooms together". Our values can also be defined as 'works of art that adorn lives'. Our methodology to put this into action could be worded like the following: 'Art is a reflection of reality, and through this, we ask ourselves questions regarding the problems in our lives'.

 

It must also be important to share these values with your readers and gain their understanding as well.

 

Picture books are like vessels in which our emotions and meaning are poured into. Iyagikot has deliberately chosen not to send out our books to the unknown masses, but rather to communicate with people we want to reach out to and share the meaning and value in our books with them.
'Picture books read by authors' is one way we have chosen to communicate with our readers. We upload videos of authors reading their books in their voices, and although readers view the videos on screens instead of meeting the authors in person, we feel it's a good way for authors to build rapport with their readers because they're using their voices. Also, readers can also save themselves time to go to the bookstore as the entire content of the book is available online via the video. There may be those who worry that readers may not buy the books because of these video clips, but we like to say if the content is valuable, it will only draw more viewers to buy the book. And also, if we don't show them the books at all, the readers will never know the books exist, so the video uploads have become a way to market these publications as well.

 

Makdoo(Author, Illustrator: Chung Hee-sun) / It's a Secret(Author, Illustrator: Park Hyun-joo)

 

 

 

Makdoo(Author, Illustrator: Chung Hee-sun)

 

 

It's a Secret(Author, Illustrator: Park Hyun-joo)

 

 

 

Iyagikot would like to focus more on current motivation rather than the end goal, 
the process than the result and what we're doing now than plans for the future.

 

 

What other 'storyflowers' is Iyagikot planning to bloom going ahead?

 

Among our picture books is one called If You Want to Eat a Watermelon . It tells the story of a farmer who does what, when and how to grow a watermelon and how he shares it in the end. We live in a society where tasks are divided, currency is used, and goods are easily purchased through markets. But in that process, we've forgotten the efforts and labor of those who produce the goods. In If You Want to Eat a Watermelon, we tried to bring back the motivation behind producing a consumer good and the related process within a world that obsesses over material things and ways to obtain them.
Like the farmer in the story, Iyagikot would like to focus more on current motivation rather than the end goal, the process than the result and what we're doing now than plans for the future. Our goal is to produce books with artists and authors who carry out that sincere process through good motivation and passion and continue to publish thoughts we want to share.

 

 

 

If You Want to Eat a Watermelon (Author: Kim Jang-sung, Author: Yoo-ri)

 

 


Arranged by Hwang jina

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