Former ABC30 anchor and reporter Christine Paik (formerly known by her maiden name, Park) has poured her heart and her legacy into a dream project.
This week she released her first children’s book, The Girl in the Gold Dress, which reflects Korean American culture in a multi-generational story and hopes to inspire appreciation and pride beyond the pages.
The book features a 10-year-old girl who performs a traditional Korean fan dance at her school’s talent show.
“She’s got this dress rehearsal, and she’s just bombing,” she said. “She can’t bring herself to do it and she’s too embarrassed, it’s too different and too Korean. So she has this conversation with her mother on her way to the real talent show. Her mother tells her the story of the dress she’s wearing and its connection to her family history. It really changes her perspective from embarrassment to pride as she continues to really nail it.”
Paik says growing up, there weren’t many books with Asian American heroines — and that hasn’t changed much.
With the rise of anti-Asian violence in the United States, she felt the urgency to act. Written during the pandemic, it was a passion project with her mother, Jung Lin Park, who illustrated the book.
“It’s just a really good way, number one, to get Asian American kids to see books that reflect their own experiences or their own cultural heritage or their upbringing,” she said. “Number two, expose children of all backgrounds and ages to Korean American, Asian American culture in a beautiful, educational and respectful way. Third, you know, you hope that by exposing children to more diverse literature, they grew up to be adults who respect other cultures and differences.
Her mother majored in art in Seoul, Korea, but her love for painting was put on hold after she immigrated to America and raised three children.
“It’s so meaningful because I know what she sacrificed and what she gave up to give me, the life and the opportunity that I have. And so in a way for me, that’s is a way to pay it back and, you know and say, look, we can do it together. We have something that lasts beyond us.
More information about the book:
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