Friday, December 12, 2014

Picture Book Island by Tina Cho

Have you been to a picture book island? I have. Last month my family went sightseeing on Nami Island in South Korea. This little island is 63 km from Seoul in the middle of the Han River. It's a cultural place where 2.7 million visitors go to relax and get away from city life.

However, throughout this island you'll discover children's books everywhere! In bathrooms, outside restaurants, in resting areas, hotel rooms... Why? The whole island is a "library forest," so that people can be inspired.

In 2005 Nami Island celebrated the 200th birthday of Hans Christian Andersen by hosting the Nami Island International Children's Book Festival. It is the official sponsor of the IBBY Hans Christian Andersen Awards. Nami Island was founded by Mr. Minn Byung-do (1916-2006). He had supported cultural activities, including children's literature and art.

For 2015, Nami Island Concours hosts a contest for illustrators all around the world. It's aim is to "encourage creativity and to contribute to the advancement of the quality of picture book illustrations." Grand Prize is $10k plus a plaque. (Entries were due in Sept. 2014) Check here for shortlisted candidates for the final judging which will take place Dec. 31, 2014.

2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award Winner from Brazil

I think Nami Island would be the perfect place for an SCBWI Conference! (hint, hint) And now, here's a photo tour...

The only way to get to the island is by a less than five minute ferry boat ride or to drop in by zip line. We chose the first.

The funny-looking squirrels are friendly. The only other wildlife are noisy magpie and fenced-in, rude ostriches. 

Nami Island is rich in Korean history. You can see primitive huts and newer cottages.

Now let's take a walk and see results of the 2014 Nami Island Picture Book Festival. Perhaps you'll recognize some of these books and authors or try reading the different languages. (I didn't take pictures of all the countries.)


Nami Island's Motto:
"Let's eat and drink while crawling and playing amongst books"

Outdoor bookcase 
Come Visit!

I hope you enjoyed your photo tour of the picture book island, Nami Island!


  1. So unique! I'm sure you can't help but be inspired here. Thanks for sharing!

  2. O such Joy, Tina!
    I luv the links too - the titles from the whole wide world make me smile. I especially want to know the p.b., School Zoo (South Korea entry) & also (The Whale in the Sky, entry from Italy) just from the titles, based on the list of 2015 entries.

    This island is enchanted, it feels me, from reading your lovely post. If I were your agent/editor/mentor I'd ask you to think/feel if you have a p.b. in you, airising from the catalyst of this island? Might take some time to bubble up, but could be... wunnerful.

    Merrie Christmas to you & your lovely family. Thanks for sharing the photos, too.

    1. Yes, Jan, I have one pb idea from this trip.

    2. That doesn't surprise me! So glad about this. Again, appreciations for your sharing about Nami Island.

  3. That sounds like a lovely place to visit. Will put it on my "to visit list" ;)

  4. How amazing, Tina! Thank you for sharing such a special, unique spot in the world. What a great field trip for you and the kids. All of the pictures makes me want to go! ~Suzy

  5. What a fantastic find for you and your family . . . And for s SCBWI conference!

    1. Thanks, Jarm. That would be a nice spot for a conference!

  6. Wow, Tina! How lucky you are to be able to visit the island! This sounds like something from a dream. Thanks for introducing me to it.

  7. Oh Tina, I wanna go!!!! What an amazing place this is. Thanks so much for sharing. Lucky, lucky you to have gone there!!!!!

  8. This is, Tina!!! Thanks for sharing :-)