I am so excited to be holding this beautiful picture book, “Rice from Heaven” written by the lovely Tina Cho and illustrated by Keum Jin Song. It finally arrived down-under, New Zealand. I can’t believe it’s here. It is very special to me as I remember Tina telling me about her night adventure to help send rice over the North Korean border. I’ve been intrigued with the story from its beginning. It looks and smells soooo good.
Tina and I have been online friends and critique buddies for some years now, and as she lives in South Korea with her husband and two children, she is only 5 hours behind me, we often chat long after our American buddies have called it a night.
Late last year hubby and I stopped in South Korea to visit with Tina and her family as part of our Europe trip. We had a fabulous time and one of the highlights was when Tina took us to a lookout called the Odusan Unification Observatory in Paju, (north of Seoul) where we could view North Korea from a lookout. The vast forbidden stretch of land separated only by a narrow river where you could make out a few pale looking buildings seemed eerie and sad. One wondered what went on beyond the mountains in the distance. Tina’s story Rice from Heaven is a fitting tribute to the kindness and compassion that is needed in times of hardship.
Thanks, Diane, for having me. Most of you have heard how this story came to be. But just in case you haven’t, I’ll repeat briefly. Since moving to South Korea in 2010, I heard about the plight of North Korean refugees in churches. God gave me a heart for them. My colleague told me she was tutoring some refugees in English at a refugee church, and they were going to send rice in balloons over the border. I went along to help and knew I’d write something about it, which is how RICE FROM HEAVEN was born.
According to the Ministry of Unification in South Korea, there were 1,127 North Korean defectors to South Korea last year. So far this year, there have been 488 and the year isn’t over. And those numbers are only for South Korea, not Europe or the U.S. Even though things might appear rosy with leaders of countries meeting, the people are still under oppression. The children suffer.
I’m so glad, Diane, you could visit Korea and peek into the North, even though they put up a false front of appearances. We had a wonderful time together climbing a small mountain and eating together as well. I’d love to visit New Zealand sometime!
Diane asked me to share a rice recipe with you all. One popular food here is kimbap (keem-bop) which kinda looks like sushi. I’ve made it once, but it’s so cheap, it’s tastier to buy it, IMO.
Here’s the kimbap recipe from a popular Korean cooking blog I follow. Enjoy!
Thank you so much Tina.
Rice From Heaven is a beautiful lyrical story of courage and kindness. There is a beautiful tribute on Tina’s blog to the children of Nth Korea and her book… here
How you can use Rice from Heaven in the classroom can be found on Tina’s Blog… here
My dear friend, Tina has two more books coming out… Korean Celebrations (Tuttle 2019) and Breakfast with Jesus (Harvest House 2020)
Sounds like a great book. How nice to be able to finally meet a blogging friend, Diane.
Hi Darlene, Yes it was wonderful meeting up with Tina. It was fun but a very short visit. Would love to return one day. There is northing more special than meeting up with a critique buddy or blogger in person. 🙂
Ah, so sweet, Diane. I love the photo of us. Thanks so much for blogging about my book!
You’re welcome Tina. The photo is a great reminder of the time we had together. Look forward to next time 😉
Excited to see that there will be more stories coming from Ms. Cho in 2019 and 2020 as well! Thanks for the kimbap recipe–obviously I need to find where I can get my hands on some because it looks delicious.
So glad you liked the post Lindsay. Yes I intend to make this recipe. It does look yummy.
I so enjoyed the interview ladies. I didn’t know you visited each other and talked frequently! I love Tina’s new book and will review it in the near future. Such an important book about empathy for others.
Hi Pat, yes Tina and I are long time internet friends and critique buddies. Hubby and I stopped in to visit her in Korea on our way to Europe last year. We then flew on to Vienna and then joined a coach tour in Dubrovnik of about 11 days back to Vienna. It was a great time. You will enjoy Tina’s book and I know she will be delighted to hear you will review her book on your blog someday. Thanks Pat.