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Project Mulberry
Cover of Project Mulberry
Project Mulberry
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Julia Song and her friend Patrick would love to win a blue ribbon, maybe even two, at the state fair. They've always done projects together, and they work well as a team. This time, though, they're having trouble coming up with just the right project. Then Julia's mother offers a suggestion: They can raise silkworms, as she did when she was a girl in Korea.
Patrick thinks it's a great idea. Of course there are obstacles—for example, where will they get mulberry leaves, the only thing silkworms eat?—but nothing they can't handle.
Julia isn't so sure. The club where kids do their projects is all about traditional American stuff, and raising silkworms just doesn't fit in. Moreover, the author, Ms. Park, seems determined to make Julia's life as complicated as possible, no matter how hard Julia tries to talk her out of it.
In this contemporary novel, Linda Sue Park delivers a funny, lively story that illuminates both the process of writing a novel and the meaning of growing up American.

Julia Song and her friend Patrick would love to win a blue ribbon, maybe even two, at the state fair. They've always done projects together, and they work well as a team. This time, though, they're having trouble coming up with just the right project. Then Julia's mother offers a suggestion: They can raise silkworms, as she did when she was a girl in Korea.
Patrick thinks it's a great idea. Of course there are obstacles—for example, where will they get mulberry leaves, the only thing silkworms eat?—but nothing they can't handle.
Julia isn't so sure. The club where kids do their projects is all about traditional American stuff, and raising silkworms just doesn't fit in. Moreover, the author, Ms. Park, seems determined to make Julia's life as complicated as possible, no matter how hard Julia tries to talk her out of it.
In this contemporary novel, Linda Sue Park delivers a funny, lively story that illuminates both the process of writing a novel and the meaning of growing up American.

Available formats-
  • Kindle Book
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Subjects-
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    4.3
  • Lexile:
    690
  • Interest Level:
    MG
  • Text Difficulty:
    3

Recommended for you

About the Author-
  • Linda Sue Park is the author of the Newbery Medal book A Single Shard, many other novels, several picture books, and most recently a book of poetry: Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo (Poems). She lives in Rochester, New York, with her family, and is now a devoted fan of the New York Mets. For more infromation visit www.lspark.com.

Reviews-
  • DOGO Books jaitennis - This book is when Julia and her friend enter a state fair where they have to raise an animal, and Julia decides to raise a silkworm.
  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 14, 2005
    In this contemporary novel, Park (A Single Shard
    ) creates a Korean-American seventh-grader so lifelike she jumps off the page. Literally. Between chapters, protagonist Julia Song makes suggestions to the author about plot details and voices her complaints about the way her life is being directed ("Do you want my opinion? I am not happy with the way things are going here," Julia tells "Ms. Park," after chapter 3). Within the narrative, Julia is involved in a project for the Wiggle Club, an organization similar to 4-H. She partners up with her long-time friend Patrick, and they raise silkworms, hoping to produce enough thread for Julia to embroider a picture. The children's hunt for mulberry leaves (silkworms' sole source of food) leads them to Mr. Dixon, an elderly African-American who generously offers the leaves from his mulberry tree for their project. Besides celebrating intergenerational and interracial friendships, and presenting interesting details about the silkworm life cycle, the book introduces many issues relevant to budding adolescents. Self-conscious about her heritage, Julia feels that her project is "too Korean" ("I wanted a nice, normal, All-American, red-white-and-blue kind of project," she bemoans). She also suspects that her mother might be acting racist, by forbidding Julia to spend time with Mr. Dixon. Then there's the problem of extracting silk from the cocoons (in order to do so, the worms—which have become like pets—will have to be killed). Rather than manufacturing convenient solutions, the author—with Julia's periodic input—invents a realistic, bittersweet ending. Ages 9-13.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from May 1, 2005
    Gr 4-7 -When Julia Song moves with her family to Plainfield, IL, where they are the only Korean family in town, she becomes good friends with her neighbor Patrick. They have joined the Wiggle (Work-Grow-Give-Live) Club, and they need a project for the state fair. Animal husbandry is their category of choice, but what can they raise in their suburban neighborhood? When Julia's mother suggests silkworms, Patrick is enthusiastic, but Julia is not. Raising silkworms is so Korean, and she wants a real American project. Still, she agrees to the idea. When she realizes that to get the silk, the worms must die, her anguish clearly indicates how much her attitude has changed. At the end of almost every chapter, Park and her young protagonist discuss the story inside the story: where the author's ideas came from, how the characters take on a life of their own, how questions raised in the book continue to percolate inside some readers' minds when it is finished. This lively interaction provides an interesting parallel to the silkworm project as it moves from idea to reality. Julia, a feisty seventh grader, concludes that it is important to know what you don't know, an insight that she has as she grapples with her mother's attitude toward blacks. Park appropriately leaves Julia wondering what's behind her mother's prejudices in certain situations. As the novel progresses, Patrick and Julia negotiate the ups and downs of their friendship, and Julia begins to show a gradual change in attitude toward her younger brother. This skillfully written tale will have wide appeal." -Barbara Scotto, Michael Driscoll School, Brookline, MA"

    Copyright 2005 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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