This is a beautiful interview with Yumi Heo, Children’s Book Illustrator and Writer. The Korean-born Yumi talks about her life in Korea, how she was influenced to become a children’s book author and illustrator as well as her journey to America.
Here are some highlights from the interview.
She was born in 1964 and lived most of her early life in the 1970’s in the Korean countryside. This was a big influence on her art as she spent most of her time outside in nature. Her book, The Green Frogs: A Korean Folk Tale is based on many of her adventures as well on the Koren folktales she was brought up with.
She came to the United States and took up graphic design in 1989 and made it her idea to study what other children writers were doing. She studied many children’s authors and illustrators from around the wold to see how she could find her own voice. This led to her working on her own illustrations that eventually became the basis of her first children’s book.
She was included in a book written by children’s historian, Leonard Marcus, called” Show Me A Story – Why Picture Books Matter – A Conversation With 21 Of the World’s Most Celebrated Illustrators” and she was so thrilled to be a part of it. Her work is very playful and uses fantasy which comes from her Korean background. Her illustrations are very decorative, somewhat like a private visual language and createsa sense of energy that is unique to her work.
She was one of the finalists for the multiculturalism display in New York City when she participated in designing 30 windows along the New York City train lines in Queens in 1996.
She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and used natural healing methods to overcame the disease and used that as an impetus to write a new children’s story.
Here is a list of some of her acclaimed works:
A Is for Asia
Father’s Rubber Shoes
Sometimes I’m Bombaloo
Hey Mr Choo, Where Are You Going
Jibberwillies At Night
Lady Hahn and Her Seven Friends
The Green Frogs: A Korean Folktale
The Not-So Itsy Bitsy Spider
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