The Firekeeper’s Son


A tale rooted in Korean history about family, beauty, and peace.

Linda Sue Park's beautiful picture book is about Sang-hee, the son of the village firekeeper.

In Korea in the early 1800s, news from the countryside reached the king utilizing signal fires. On one mountaintop after another, a fire was lit when all was well. If the king did not see a fire, that meant trouble, and he would send out his army.

When his father is unable to light the fire one night, young Sang-hee must take his place. Sang-hee knows how important it is for the fire to be lit—but he wishes that he could see soldiers . . . just once.

Mountains, firelight and shadow, and Sunhee's struggle with a hard choice are rendered in Julie Downing's radiant paintings, which tell their own story of a turning point in a child's life.


This moving picture book is from Newbery Medalist Linda Sue Park, whose beloved middle-grade books include A Single Shard and A Long Walk to Water.