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Project Mulberry [Kindle Edition]

Linda Sue Park
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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 plan. 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 her first novel with a contemporary setting, Linda Sue Park delivers a funny, lively story that illuminates both the process of writing a novel and the meaning of growing up American.

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 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 © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 5-8. There are big issues in Park's latest novel--conservation, prejudice, patriotism, biology, and more. But the Newbery-winning writer never allows them to swamp the story; in fact, it's the compelling characters and their passionate differences and commitments that drive the plot. Julia Song doesn't want to do a silkworm project for the state fair. It's too Korean; she wants something American. But she becomes interested in caring for the eggs, the caterpillars, and the moths and then in sewing the silk thread. Kind, elderly Mr. Dixon donates the mulberry leaves the silkworms eat, but why is Mom against Julia spending time with him? Is it because he is black? The first-person narrative alternates with lively interchanges between Julia ("Me") and the author ("Ms. Park") about writing the story. The author's intrusion may distract some readers, but most children will be hooked by the funny, insightful conversations. There's no easy resolution, but the unforgettable family and friendship story, the quiet, almost unspoken racism, and the excitement of the science make this a great cross-curriculum title. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Linda Sue Park goes crashing through the third wall October 27, 2005
As of this moment in time the number of Linda Sue Park books I have read in my life amount to the following: two. This is rather shameful. If you're a children's librarian (as I am) and your job is to read and know all the hip young authors winning medals hither and thither (and thither and yon) then at the VERY least you could bring yourself to read the most recent Newbery winners. Ms. Park won a Newbery for "A Single Shard", and I have not read it yet. What I have read is her remarkable picture book, "The Firekeeper's Son". THAT, my friends, is a great book. So when I was handed a copy of "Project Mulberry", I dove into it with zero hesitation. The result was a bit confusing. What we have here is a clever book by a clever author who seems to be hooking far too many themes together all at the same time. Fortunately, you can appreciate this book without necessarily loving it. At least I could.

Julia and Patrick are best friends. Have been since the moment they met, actually. Together, the two of them have done all sorts of interesting projects for school together. Patrick's the ideas man and Julia's the person who likes to do the labor. In fact, these kids never had a single fight until they decided to do a WGGL project together. WGGL is a kind of 4-H for city kids and Julia and Patrick have chosen to do something with "animal husbandry". Finding the right kind of animal, however, isn't as easy as they'd hoped. When Mrs. Song, Julia's mother, suggests that they do a silkworm project Patrick is thrilled. Julia is not. Both her parents are Korean immigrants and their daughter has always shied away from things that strike her as "too Korean". Now, however, she's stuck with a mighty difficult and complex project.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book for readers and writers! March 7, 2006
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I purchased this book due to the fact that I would be attending a conference at which Ms. Park is speaking (I like to get an idea of the presentors background). I knew that Ms. Park is talented, but never did I expect to enjoy it so very very much. As an author I found the entries between the chapters to be facinating. What a great idea. And the story itself was amazing as well. I can not say enough about the whole package other than READ IT! Can't wait to meet you Ms. Park! Julia (not Julia Song, but still Julia)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Project Mulberry by Linda Sue Park September 22, 2005
I just loved Single Shard by Park so when I saw this title I picked it right away. I really liked the story because I think it covered a lot of things that young people their age meet up with and don't usually start thinking about until this age like prejudice especially their parents being prejudice. I think young people will be able to relate to these kids and that makes a story more real. I really liked how their friendship grew to a higher level because of the project (excepting each other's fears and talking about them). I have to admit it started out a little slow for me but so did Singled Shard and I wasn't sure I liked the conversations in between the chapters with the author but they grew on me and made me thing about things authors need to work on when developing their characters. I especically loved how they worked out the problem with making the silk in the end. I think young people should see compromise (thinking of others' feelings) in action and they did in this story.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unique Format Elevates this Book to a New Level March 7, 2006
Julia and Patrick are best friends in this book set in Plainfield, IL. The two are working together on a silkworm project that they hope will be displayed at the state fair. Unfortunately, Julia, whose parents came to the United States from South Korea, is less then enthusiastic about the project because she feels that silkworms are too "Korean" and so she attempts to sabotage their project. What makes this book unique is not only Julia's voice, but also the discussions between Julia and the author in between chapters. Any aspiring writer would do well to read this book as Park offers excellent insight into the writing process, while those who just enjoy a good story will also be satisfied.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and informative book! May 2, 2005
Do you ever have an argument with your best friend? In Project Mulberry by Linda Sue Parks, Julia Song gets in a fight with her friend Patrick over worms. But these aren't just any worms. They are silkworms. Julia and Patrick are creating a silkworm project for the state fair. Along the way, the run into some problems, like where to find mulberry trees in Plainfield. Since Julia is a take charge kind of girl, she also interupts the story to argue with the book's author about the way the story is going.

Project Mulberry is a fun book about friendship and being Korean in America. Julia also learns about prejudice and finds out that younger brothers don't always act like pests.

Once you read the book, you may be tempted to raise your own silkworms. I know I was.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book January 17, 2006
Julia and Patrick have to do a project for the Wiggle club. Wiggle is the pet name for the WGGL (work grow give live) club, an extra curricular organization similar to 4H. The two kids partner up to do a project that can go to the state fair as both an animal husbandry and domestic arts entry. When Julia's mother suggests raising silkworms, Patrick is excited because such a project was unheard of. Julia is anxious because it is too Korean. Linda Sue Park meets all expectations as an author and writes a wonderfully entertaining story. Park does a great job in staying focused on the life of one girl, yet touching on tangents of other issues. Julia Song is a well-developed character that grows beyond her personal limitations to understand herself, hermother, little brother, and friend. In the character of Julie, readers experience the life of a young girl who learns to reconcile being Korean and American. It is refreshing to read about an experience with a world that in many ways is not Black and White. In less drastic, yet by no means less dramatic ways, one is confronted with the issue of animal husbandry and cruelty. Julie learns that to get the silk, she must kill the pupae, which she has grown to love. Unlike other popular examples of Asian American literature, Project Mulberry is not riddled with flashbacks; it stays in one single narrative that is direct and still charming. Project Mulberry is a good read for third to fifth grade students.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A great book to read
I chose this rating because it was a really great book I enjoy and recommend this book to others to read it had different themes in the book like racism, husbandry, and a little... Read more
Published 1 month ago by awesome gamer
1.0 out of 5 stars how do books like this ever get published in the first place
So seriously, how do books like this ever get published in the first place? The longer I plough through this with my rising 6th grader, the more that question bugs me. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Simon
5.0 out of 5 stars Great...
My 10yr. old loves the book. It was on her summer reading list, but even if not I would definitely still buy it for her.
Published 2 months ago by Charles F Ridenour
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 stars
I liked how the girl (Julia) changed through out the book. I also love that Patrick and Julia are very close friends.
Published 4 months ago by loveshopping
5.0 out of 5 stars Project Mulberry
I enjoyed reading this book because I learned about the Korean method of raising silkworms and using their webbing to produce silk threads. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mayumi
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Bought this for my son as it was required reading for his Battle of the Books competition. He enjoyed it but I don't think he loved it.
Published 7 months ago by Erica Morin
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
my mom loved this book she said it was very good a great read a great book to pass on!
Published 10 months ago by Nicole
5.0 out of 5 stars Project Mulberry.
This was maybe the greatest book I read this summer. I hope you enjoy the book the book as did. I could even say that I loved it.
Published 13 months ago by olivia
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read Aloud for 3rd/4th Grade and Great Discussion on Racism
My students loved this book. It's about 2 kids who who are working on a science fair type project. They decide to raise silk worms (who only eat mulberry leaves). Read more
Published 17 months ago by Jessica
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This book is Interesting (capital I) and fun; there is something on every page to keep the young reader engaged.
Published 20 months ago by roxyaw
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More 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

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