Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth

(pub. 5.31.2011)  32 pages 

A Tale with A Cherry On Top

A uthor: Joan Schoettler
     and Illustrator:  Jessica Lanan

haracter: Ji-su, a fictional Korean girl 

O verview from the jacket flap: 

         "Ji-su's mother has been chosen by the Korean king to be a seamstress at the palace and sew bojagi, or wrapping cloths, for the royal household. It is a great honor, but to Ji-su it means saying good-bye to her mother. The only way for them to be reunited, Ji-su realizes is for her to become a seamstress just as talented and be chosen to serve the king.
           Through the changing seasons Ji-su sews, learning the craft from her great-aunt and practicing her stitches tirelessly... Is her sewing fine enough for the king?
            Joan Schoettler's warm text brings the landscape and culture of ancient Korea to life. Together with illustrator Jessica Lanan's breathtaking depictions of Korea through the seasons, Ji-su's story of longing and determination will capture the hearts of readers of all ages."

T antalizing taste: 
        "'My dear daughter.' Eomma and Ji-su held each other like threads in a seam.
          Ji-su opened her bojagi.
          Eomma examied it. 'Each stitch has brought us together again.'
          Ji-su nodded. 'Good fortune is in a wrapping cloth.'"

and something more:    With this post, I veered from my usual picture book biography because I wanted to feature Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth, a compelling fictional story with an artistic, cultural and historical basis. Joan Shoettler was inspired to write this story after viewing an exhibit of bojagi, Korean wrapping cloths, at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.  
        Joan explained the background of bojagi in her Author's Notes: "Bojagi, sewn by women, held an important place in the everyday lives of all classes of Koreans during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1897). They were used for everything from storing foods and household items to covering bedding and screens and wrapping gifts... Artistic creativity was embraced in bojagi. Women used scraps of fabrics to create works of art. Abstract designs, contrasting or complementing colors, and intricate stitches and embroidery are evident in their wrapping cloths.. Koreans believed good luck could be enclosed within a bojagi. Blessing and good wishes accompanied each stitch and piece of fabric. Also, wrapping a gift in a bojagi offered blessings of good luck and happiness ..." 
        Meeting Joan Shoettler at the Asilomar SCBWI conference was a gift wrapped in a bojagi -- I feel we are kindred spirits.  Joan wrote a lovely inscription in my copy of her book -- "May good fortune be wrapped in the fabric of your life." And may that be true for everyone's lives.

No comments: