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The Ocean Calls – A Haenyeo Mermaid Story

Tina Cho & Jess X Snow


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A breathtaking picture book featuring a Korean girl and her haenyeo (free diving) grandmother about intergenerational bonds, finding courage in the face of fear, and connecting with our natural world.

Dayeon wants to be a haenyeo just like Grandma. The haenyeo dive off the coast of Jeju Island to pluck treasures from the sea–generations of Korean women have done so for centuries. To Dayeon, the haenyeo are as strong and graceful as mermaids. To give her strength, Dayeon eats Grandma’s abalone porridge. She practices holding her breath while they do the dishes. And when Grandma suits up for her next dive, Dayeon grabs her suit, flippers, and goggles. A scary memory of the sea keeps Dayeon clinging to the shore, but with Grandma’s guidance, Dayeon comes to appreciate the ocean’s many gifts.

“The vibrant illustrations in cool, deep blue hues, punctuated by ochres and brick reds, capture the beauty of the natural world and lift the Haenyeo to near mythic proportions…” – Kirkus Reviews

Written by Tina Cho

Illustrated by Jess X. Snow, with assistance from Yuan Zheng, Zoraida Ingles, and Sean Devare

Character Designs by Yuan Zheng

Publisher: Kokila Books/Penguin Young Readers (2020)

Every purchase of The Ocean Calls from Justseeds comes with a free Long Live Our Four Billion Year Old Mother Sticker by Jess X. Snow:

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