Good Fortune in a Wrapping Clothby Joan Schottler (Author), Jessica Lanan (Illustrator)
A Historical Fiction from Korea!
Little Ji-su’s mother Eomma is a seamstress. She is so good that she has been chosen to work in the king’s palace. This is a matter of great honor for Eomma and her family. But little Ji-su is heartbroken. Eomma will have to leave her village and family. Eomma will be staying and working at the palace. She cries and begs her mother to take her along. But Eomma must go alone, leaving her daughter, little Ji-su in the care of an aunt Gomo.
Before leaving, Eomma has left Ji-su a gift covered in bojagi (a square hemmed wrapping cloth). It is believed that wrapping a package with bojagi will send good luck to the person receiving the package. As Ji-su sees the vanishing figure of her mother, she sits down to open the parcel. She carefully unfolds the bojagi and opens a box. Inside, she finds Eomma’s 7 close companions: a needle, thread, a thimble, a ruler, a pair of scissors, a small iron called indoo and a iron with a bowl to hold charcoal called darimi. “Someday I am going to sew a bojagi as fine as Eomma’s” says Ji-su.
With her aunt’s help and training, Ji-su starts to learn the art of sewing. A skill that will test her patience. She must do all her chores in the house and then sit down to sew. But Ji-su is steadfast and relentless. She has only one goal in mind. To be noticed by the Sanguiwon master (overseer of the sewing needs of the palace). That is the only way she will be united with her Eomma.
As the seasons pass, Ji-su sews on. She sews the beautiful colors of the seasons in her bojagi. She sews the pomegranate red and pine greens. She works at her crooked stitches to make them right. As spring turns into summer, Ji-su sews the colors of summer fruits peach, plum and cherry into her bojagi. She practices to stitch smaller and more intricately than before.
“Each stitch is a step closer to Eomma”
Finally the Sanguiwon master arrives at her village. Ji-su has worked hard the last month to make her best bojagi. Will the master see her work as worthy? Will her Eomma’s bojagi bring good fortune to Ji-su? Will she be able to see her Eomma again?
This is a tale that weaves the threads of culture, art, custom and history. This is also the tale of Ji-su’s determination and hard work to re-unite with her mother Eomma. Joan Schottler’s story telling is gentle and heartwarming. But what sets this book apart is the delicate and beautiful watercolor illustrations. Jessica Lanan ‘s art really completes this book.
We loved reading how hard Ji-su would work and how she never left sight or gave up on meeting her mother Eomma. Whether you read “Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth” for its culture, history or art or whether you read it for little Ji-su’s love for her mother, you will not be disappointed!
- Top Ten: Korean American Children's Books (ages 2-16) - [...] found this chapter book at Stacking Books who says, “A beautiful Korean historical fiction! A tale of daughter’s love,…