King Sejong Invents an Alphabet

by Carol Kim (Author) Cindy Kang (Illustrator)

King Sejong Invents an Alphabet
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
In 15th-century Korea, King Sejong was distressed. The complicated Chinese characters used for reading and writing meant only rich, educated people could read--and that was just the way they wanted it. But King Sejong thought all Koreans should be able to read and write, so he worked in secret for years to create a new Korean alphabet. King Sejong's strong leadership and determination to bring equality to his country make his 600-year-old story as relevant as ever.

Kirkus Reviews

An artful telling of the birth of an alphabet.

School Library Journal

K-Gr 3--Yi Do was born in Gyeongbokgung Palace in 1397, and as a member of royalty, was taught to read and write Hanja, the complex Chinese characters Korea used at that time. It was difficult to learn Hanja, but Yi Do loved learning and reading. When Yi Do became king, his name was changed to Sejong. As king, Sejong realized that most people, especially the general population, could not read Hanja. The characters did not match Korean sounds and words. Korea needed its own alphabet, so Sejong took on the task of creating Hangeul. This had to be done in secret since the wealthy wanted to keep the general population ignorant to maintain power. Sejong, and Hangeul, helped improve the lives of people all over Korea. In the back matter, readers learn that it took many more centuries, and quite a few wars, for Hangeul to become the official alphabet. This is an engaging, informative, and accessible biography with bright, inviting artwork about man who had a major impact on language and the marginalized citizens of his country. VERDICT A wonderful addition to elementary school biography collections.--Kristyn Dorfman, Friends Academy, Locust Valley, NY

Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

An artful telling of the birth of an alphabet.—Kirkus Reviews

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
October 20, 2021

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