ABOUT GINGER PARK
According to my life path number 3, I was destined
to write (that is if you believe in numerology and I do). But as a youngster, I
was an athlete, a gymnast with boundless energy, spending most of my time
upside down, turning cartwheels and doing backflips – I was too carefree to tap
into my creative side.
That all changed on my seventeenth birthday, two
days after my father’s untimely death. Call it a gut-wrenching aha moment, a
reflective day of tearful soul-searching when I realized that I knew very
little about my parents – their lives and dreams growing up in Korea, their
struggles to survive in a world of war, oppression, and life shattering events.
For the next few months, I was fretful, clinging to
my mother, yearning to know her life story as well as my father’s, fearing our
time together was like sand in an hourglass. Night after night, we stayed up late
sifting through old photos as my mother shared anecdotal events of the
homeland. I was mesmerized, listening, interpreting, and ultimately crafting my
art while documenting my family’s rich past that spanned the Korean peninsula
from the northern port city of Sinuiju to the capital city of Seoul.
And, so, began my writing journey.
While I never followed in my father’s Harvard
footsteps, writing books and owning a boutique chocolate shop in the heart of
downtown Washington, DC have been my true education. Yes, Books and Chocolate. As
writer and entrepreneur, I’ve built a sweet life, surviving and thriving in an
I’ve written a delicious chocolate memoir and a cookbook
for allergy sufferers as well as some whimsical picture books such as Where
on Earth Is My Bagel? and The Have a Good Day Café. Do you see a
theme here? Yes, I’m a foodie at heart! But it is the books inspired by my parents’
experiences growing up in Japanese occupied Korea, enduring the Russian
invasion of their homeland and the Korean War, that have deeper meaning, bring
a tragic yet vibrant world back to life.
Sadly, my mother passed away in 2019, but like my
father, she lives on through my books, which have garnered many accolades
including the International Reading Association’s Children’s Book Award,
Paterson Prize for Books for Young People, The Joan G. Sugarman Children’s Book
Award, Outstanding Merit, Best Children’s Books of the Year, Bank Street
College, Parents’ Choice Award, A Junior Library Guild Selection, IRA-CBC
Teachers’ Choice Award, and NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book For
Young People Children’s Book Award.
My books have been published by National Geographic,
Boyds Mills & Kane, Hyperion, Lee & Low, St. Martin’s Press, and Thomas
I’m honored to add Regal House Publishing to the
list with the publication of my latest work The Hundred Choices Department
Store. Set in Sinuiju, Korea, this historical novel is inspired by my
mother’s remembrances of her family’s painful struggles during the Russian
invasion of their hometown and ultimate flight south, across the 38th parallel to
Seoul, just prior to the outbreak of the Korean War.
When I’m not writing or spending treasured time with
my human and fur baby family, I’m usually at my shop, behind the counter
‘breaking chocolate’ with my beloved customers. My shop motto: There’s a
chocolate for every mood. But for me it’s always something dark and earthy that
lingers on the tongue long after the chocolate has melted.
Most of my books are inspired by past and present family members. Like all families, ours is rich with history and humor, tragedy and victory. My goal is to share these stories with kids in the hopes that they, too, will someday delve into their own family roots, and write stories that inspire.
People always ask me what drives me to write. One of my favorite quotes comes from Paulo Coelho: I’d have stopped writing years ago if it were for the money. I write for myself, my readers, and my sanity. :-)
PUBLICATIONS - View in Bookstore
National Geographic Children's Books
My Freedom Trip: A Child's Escape from North Korea
Boyds Mills & Kane
Lee & Low Books
The Hundred Choices Department Store
Boyds Mills & Kane
Lee & Low Books