Born to Korean parents in Urbana, Illinois on March 25, 1960, Park grew up outside of Chicago. By four years old, she wrote poems and stories, and at age nine, she wrote a haiku that was published in a children's magazine. This was only the beginning for this budding author. Through elementary school and high school, Park continued to see her poems published. For college she attended Stanford University and competed on the gymnastics team. After graduating with an English degree, Park worked for an oil company as a public-relations writer until she met her future husband.
Moving to Dublin and then to London, Park worked a variety of jobs, including teaching, married her Irishman, and had two children. Many years passed before he husband's job transfered them to the United States. Continuing to teach English as a Second Language to foreign college students, Park decided to return to writing for children. Her first book entitled
Seesaw Girl was published in 1997, Kite Fighters followed with chapter-heading illustrations done by her father, and then A Single Shard saw publication in 2001. This book won the Newbery Medal in 2002. Park continues writing for children and adults with many of her historical fiction books focusing on Korea. For a change of pace and testing her range of knowledge, Park competed on the game show Jeopardy! and came in third place during a show in October 2006. Gathering trivia and living in upstate New York, Park continues to please her readers with new works.
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