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When Spring Comes to the DMZ
: (Russian) Когда в ДМЗ приходит весна


Lee Ukbae




Picture Books


6~8 years old
9~12 years old

Overseas Licensing

English, Chinese, Japanese


  • #poem
  • #general picture book
  • #history
  • #DMZ
  • #2019 Gothenburg Book Fair
  • #2020 Moscow International Book Fair

Copyright Contact

Kang hyunjoo

  • Publication Date

  • No. of pages

  • ISBN

  • Dimensions

    250 * 245

When Spring Comes to the DMZ tells a story of nature and human beings around Korea's demilitarized zone. Following the changes of the four seasons, this picture book describes the vitality of the nature around the DMZ that sadly intersects with the fear of the war in the human world.

Book Intro

(Russian) Когда в ДМЗ приходит весна

Корейский полуостров разделён на Север и Юг, между которыми пролегает ДМЗ – демилитаризованная зона. «Демилитаризованная» значит «без оружия». Как ни парадоксально, именно потому, что для людей вход в ДМЗ запрещён, многочисленным животным и растениям живётся здесь мирно и спокойно. Дедушка раз за разом поднимается на смотровую площадку, откуда видно ДМЗ, и мечтает о дне, когда он сможет свободно видеться с родными и друзьями по ту сторону границы.


(English) When Spring Comes to the DMZ

The demilitarized zone (DMZ) symbolizes the division of the country. It refers to an area between the barbed-wire fences built 2 km away from the 248 km long military demarcation line between the north and south. The line stretches from the mouth of Imjingang river in the west to the sea at Goseong, Gnagwon Province in the east. This space is a forbidden land that nobody is allowed to enter.

Although DMZ means an "unarmed area," over a million soldiers armed with various weapons stand guard at its borders, staring at each other across the divide. Paradoxically, many plants and animals that have disappeared or on the verge of extinction live in the DMZ and the surrounding areas because the entrance of people is restricted. 

When Spring Comes in DMZ talks about nature in the DMZ and people. Otters, elks, wild boars and mountain goats abound in the DMZ and various types of birds nest and breed there. A school of salmons returns here to spawn and migratory birds fly freely overhead. But people can’t live there. As the seasons change, only soldiers march by for training, to fix the rusty barbed-wire fences or just on guard duty. Tourists and displaced people can just go up the observatory to look out over the DMZ with binoculars.

Each season, a grandfather goes to the observatory to look out over the DMZ with his grandson. At the observatory, the grandfather looks vacantly at the northern land or blankly at the empty north sky. Repeating this for several decades, he does not want to go up the observatory any more. If spring comes again, he wants to open wide the tightly closed iron gates of the DMZ and walk in to lie down on the sunny grass and look at the blue sky because that’s the hometown he misses so much. This wish isn’t only his. It’s the wish of all the old men and women who left their hometowns on the other side of those barbed-wire fences and the wish of everybody living in North and South Korea. 


About the Author

Lee Ukbae

(English) Lee Ukbae was born in Yongin, Gyeonggi-do and studied sculpture at Hongik University. Lee wrote and illustrated books such as The Story of Soli's Chuseok; A Mischievous A, B, C; and Zal Zal Zal 1,2,3. Other books that he illustrated include A Half-man; The Strongest Rooster in the World; A Generous Grandmother's Dumpling Making; A Mosquito and a Bull; and Who Are You? Lee is currently living in Ansung, where he works as a picture book writer and a gardener. 


(Japanese) 絵本『ソルリのお盆の話』、『おてんば娘カナタ』、『ジャルジャルジャル123』、『話袋の話』、『非武装地帯に春が来たら』を描き、『世界で一番強いオンドリ』、『太陽と月になったお姉さん』、『蚊と牛』、『手の大きいおばあちゃんの餃子作り』、『5代家族』に絵を描きました。朝鮮民話と記録画、ダンウォンとへウォンの風俗画、ギョンジェの山水画など、韓国の伝統絵画に込められた心と精神を継承し、更新し、現実に根ざした真摯な絵を描こうと努力しています。2010年にIBBYアナーリスト、2019年に国際アンデルセン賞韓国候補に選ばれました。


(Russian) Автор и одновременно иллюстратор этой книги Ли Ок Бэ родился в 1960 г. в провинции Гёнгидо в г. Йонине. Закончил университет "Хоник" по специальности скульптура. Среди книг, которые он написал и проиллюстрировал, "Рассказ Сори о празднике Урожая Чусок", "Непослушные буквы ㄱ,ㄴ,ㄷ", "Ту-ту-ту! 1-2-3!". Среди книг, которые он иллюстрировал, "Половинка", "Самый сильный в мире петух", "Пельмени щедрой бабушки", "Комар и бык", "Ты кто?" и др. В настоящее время автор живет в г. Ансонг, занимается земледелием и продолжает иллюстрировать книги.


Batchelder Honor Winner, 2020 ALA Youth Media Awards

Honorable Mention, 2019 Freeman Awards (National Consortium for Teaching about Asia)

Best Picture Books of 2019, Kirkus Review


Recommended by Open Children (2010)

Selected as the Peace Museum's Children's Peace Book (2011)

Recommended by the Korean Publication Ethics Committee (2010)

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