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Seesaw Girl

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  368 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
Jade never ventures beyond the walls of her family's Inner Court; in seventeenth-century Korea, a girl of good family does not leave home until she marries. She is enthralled by her older brother's stories about trips to the market and to the ancestral grave sites in the mountains, about reading and painting, about his conversations with their father about business and pol ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published September 14th 2009 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published August 23rd 1999)
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(showing 1-30)
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Shannon (formerly The Holy Terror)
This is the type of book I wish I had read when I was a kid, and it really makes me wonder how the me then would have felt about it. I know a fair amount about Asian history now, but as a kid (and even a teenager) the majority of my history studies were centered on the United States or Europe. I think the only time Asia was even mentioned was in reference to WWII, which is pretty sad.

Park does a fantastic job of explaining a lot of customs and traditions that would seem incredibly alien to an A
Barb Middleton
This debut novel in 1999 has all the elements that I've come to love when reading Linda Sue Park's books: engaging characters, well-crafted plot, and interesting subjects. This tale is set in ancient Korea during the 1600's where wealthy women and children were virtual prisoners of their home. They were not allowed to leave the Inner Court and spent much of their days doing laundry and embroidering. Plus, doing the laundry didn't mean just washing clothes and hanging them to dry. It meant rippin ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Grandma Bev for

Jade Blossom lives in a family compound in seventeenth century Korea. Her father is an adviser to the king. Jade and her cousin, Willow, live in the female section of the compound, separately from the men and boys, but the girls take every opportunity to play tricks on Jade's brother. She and Willow are like sisters, and then Willow is married and moves to her own compound, where Jade will probably not be able to see her again.

Jade's brother helps her
Aug 12, 2008 Terri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: madeline, lucy, sharon
a short, sweet story about a young girl living in 17th century korea who is not allowed to go outside her family's home until she is married. that may be acceptable to many, but not to our heroine, Jade Blossom, whose curiosity and independent spirit lead her beyond the inner court and much, much more...

My only complaint is that I wish the book was longer. It's always interesting to read about my mom's country, culture and customs. The story mentions why women don't smile, something I noticed in pictures of my mom and her family members. It also had the phrase "Ai-go," which is very recognizable to me. Unfortunately, it represents how very little is familiar to me about the Korean language.
Dec 26, 2009 M rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asia, young-adult
Jade Blossom lives in an upper class Korean home in the 1650s when women stayed in the Inner Courtyard and only men left the house. She yearns to see the world, but this is not your typical story where the girl finds a way out of the constraints of her life. That's all I can say without spoiling the plot.
Seesaw Girl is the story of Jade, who is not allowed to leave the inner court of her family’s home. She should be focusing on learning skills that will benefit her future husband, but instead she daydreams about what is beyond her walls all the way to the mountains. Also, Jade would rather pull pranks than sit sewing all day and wishes she were one of the boys. So when her best friend is married and sent off, Jade cannot resist the risk to see her. Her adventure takes her outside the wall into a ...more
Heydi Smith
Jun 12, 2015 Heydi Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful story about a young girl who wanted more than her society was willing to allow. Unswayed by set backs Jade found a way to get "enough" for her spirit to be content but also didn't give up on her dreams.

I think this book can be of great insight for everyone not just girls, please, let's consider that boys too were and often still are under a strict life course as chosen by tradition.

Recommended to me by Amy F.
Apr 08, 2013 Tanja rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another book that showed me why I enjoy historical fiction so much. I simply love time traveling, especially when it is made so easy for me as the reader. Through the main character Jade, we find out what life was like for a young girl in 13th century Korea, gaining insights into the country's history and traditions (and a very special invention still much enjoyed today!)

I enjoyed it and found it very interesting. I thought the title didn't fit the story though as the see saw was only brought up at the end. I understand that it was the bridge to the mountains but thought another title would have worked better. Dumb thing to complain about.
Jan 09, 2009 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asian, cultural
Jade must learn to accept her restricted life and "make it enough." Interesting look a privileged girl's life in 1600's Korea - fun, but wished more interaction with the other characters.
Jun 06, 2009 Chandler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Im reading this book again i loved it so much it makes you think more on the rights girls didn't have in korea!
Daniel A
Aug 18, 2015 Daniel A rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Danny Ahn
Humanities 1/2
Mr. Gibault

I strongly recommend “Seesaw Girl” by Linda Sue Park for those who seek a short but fascinating history fictional book. I enjoyed this book because it is set in a historical Korean setting and adds historical elements to the story. Additionally, this book consists of a vivid perspective from a young Korean girl to show the reader what young and rich Korean girls would have thought like. First of all, Linda Sue Park does a really good job at setting th
H.R.H. Carpathia
I liked the story but felt it ended too soon. I think it would have been better if written for middle or high school level aged children so more details and story can be added. When I got to the end I thought "that's it" and wished for more.
Linda Sue Park writes the most beautiful books and she is so good about weaving in parts of Korean history and culture into the stories without making it feel didactic or like an info dump. On the other hand, these are books that strike me as good classroom reads. They are short, but harder (see the Lexile rating) and the stories are gentle and quiet and make you think. My current group of kids would be hard pressed to pick this up on their own. They don’t read a lot of contemplative stuff (alth ...more
Jen Kelley
Jun 23, 2014 Jen Kelley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book at a book sale while visiting my in-laws out in west Texas and read it on the ride home. As a 5th grade reading teacher, I choose books for the purpose of building my knowledge so to recommend good books to my students.

At the time I saw this book, I was thinking this might be a great mentor text to use when teaching cultural differences. Yes, I was absolutely correct on that assumption!! However, I also found a wonderfully written story of a Korean girl, Jade Blossom who s
SUMMARY: Jade never ventures beyond the walls of her family's Inner Court; in seventeenth-century Korea, a girl of good family does not leave home until she marries. She is enthralled by her older brother's stories about trips to the market and to the ancestral grave sites in the mountains, about reading and painting, about his conversations with their father about business and politics and adventures only boys can have. Jade accepts her destiny, and yet she is endlessly curious about what lies ...more
This cute story is historical fiction for children set in 1600s Korea.

The story focuses on a 12 year old girl who's father is a counselor to the king.
Girls and women in this class of society were not allowed outside the inner courts of their homes, except for the weddings of male relatives (female relatives were married in their family home), and on their wedding day, when they would be taken to their husband's family home, and become part of his family, never to see their own family again. Jad
A whimsical tone pervades this gentle narrative about the development of a young Korean girl in the 1600s. Park's story develops the character of Jade through her experiences while effectively immersing the reader in Korean culture without didactic passages weighing the text down. This is a homeschooling gem that I am pleased to have discovered and happy to own.

I highly recommend this book for all ages generally and for those interested in Korea in particular. There is tremendous insight for bot
Lynesha Williams
Jade Blossom is withdrawn from reality and taught how to cook, clean, and do laundry for her husband. Her parents believe when she is married she should be able to go out into the world. However, they have different views for her brother’s life. Her brother could go and come as he pleases and have conversations with her father. Jade one day decides to escape from her Korean lifestyle and finds herself in trouble. This will be a great book for students to teach them about the Korean culture, gend ...more
May 04, 2014 Kenzie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a nice short read. I'm sure I would have enjoyed it better at a younger age, as it was written for more of a children's book. However I enjoyed it and found it delightsome. Some of the description at the beginning (seating arrangements and such) I found long and boring for the overall shortness of the book. But she quickly remedied that and the problem didn't creep up again later in the book.
I must admit though that I didn't know the book had ended till I realized that the "next chapte
Sep 27, 2012 Skedatt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I agree with the author that it is both appalling and somehow fascinating that these women were confined throughout their whole lives. I loved the description of the laundry: I am sure that the custom for taking all the seams out and washing them, drying them, beating out the wrinkles with sticks, and then sewing them all back together again, came from the need to keep their hands occupied while being kept within the Inner Courts--with the convenient excuse that it kept the sicknesses away. It p ...more
Erin Fowler
Feb 09, 2016 Erin Fowler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jade has always wanted to see the world outside her little court, but in Korea girls living with wealthier families are not to travel the normal streets. They are in charge of cooking and cleaning and taking care of clothing. Jade follows her heart and without her parents permission leaves the premisses. What she finds is both beauty and hardship.
This book was a beautiful illustration of the culture of Korea. I enjoyed seeing Jade develop as a character and how she was so convicted to see more.
Miss Amanda
gr 4-6 87 pgs

1600s Korea. Life in the Inner Court of her family's house, had always seemed big enough for 12 year old Jade Blossom. But when her best friend and cousin Graceful Willow marries and goes to live with her new family, Jade Blossom misses her terribly. Jade Blossom decides she must see her cousin, but she's never been beyond the outer court of her family's home. Does she really have the courage to go all the way into the village by herself?

Feb 02, 2010 Tira rated it it was amazing
A view of the cage, form the birds point of view. A story about a young daughter of a prominent Korean family who questions and for one day escapes the walls of her family court home. This is a tender and entertaining telling of the life of wealthy women and female children roles in the Choson period in Korea. I really enjoyed this book because it was a quick read being only 89 pages. I loved that the main character had such spunk while still being humbled by her faults.
Sarah Ritchick
Feb 11, 2016 Sarah Ritchick marked it as to-read
Standard: Grade 3. RL.3.6. Distinguish their own point of view from that of the narrator or those of the characters. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.

Description: In 17th-century Korea, a girl of good family is not allowed to leave home. How will 12-year-old Jade Blossom find out what lies beyond the walls?

Genre: Multicultural

Awards: n/a
Esther May
Aug 10, 2016 Esther May rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this introduction to Korean culture. It is a story of a girl who lived about 400 years ago in rich society in Korea. It discusses the different lives of the rich and poor; and boys and girls. It is a great read for even little kids.
Anne Slater
Apr 01, 2011 Anne Slater rated it really liked it
Linda Sue Park creates an atmosphere that accurately represents the period of which sh writes. Although her books are aimed at older middle school kids, this adult enjoys them thoroughly.
The illustrations capture the essence of the child-narrator.
Dec 06, 2012 Tiffany rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: asian american or other children of a different race
This was a wonderful story. A girl finds her on way in life and breaks away from tradition. This would be great to have in the classroom so other readers could see or view different types of cultures and their customs.
Jan 14, 2014 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: j-fiction, 2014
It's hard not to relate to Jade Blossom in her need to expand her world. It was an interesting read, getting a glimpse of 1600s Korea. I haven't read many books with the time period, or the location before.

I just wish it were a little longer and we got to see more of Jade as she got older.
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Linda Sue Park is a Korean American author of children's fiction. Park published her first novel, Seesaw Girl, in 1999. To date, she has written six children’s novels and five picture books for younger readers. Park’s work achieved prominence when she received the prestigious 2002 Newbery Medal for her novel A Single Shard.

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