King Sejong Invents an Alphabet

Albert Whitman. Oct. 2021. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780807541616.
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.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing