The Kite Fighters

In a riveting narrative set in fifteenth-century Korea, two brothers discover a shared passion for kites. Kee-sup can craft a kite unequaled in strength and beauty, but his younger brother, Young-sup, can fly a kite as if he controlled the wind itself. Their combined skills attract the notice of Korea’s young king, who chooses Young-sup to fly the royal kite in the New Year kite-flying competition—an honor that is also an awesome responsibility. Although tradition decrees, and the boys’ father insists, that the older brother represent the family, both brothers know that this time the family’s honor is best left in Young-sup’s hands. This touching and suspenseful story, filled with the authentic detail and flavor of traditional Korean kite fighting, brings a remarkable setting vividly to life. (
Year of Publication
Number of Pages
Random House, Inc.
New York
ISSN Number
Average: 5 (5 votes)


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Review for The Kite Fighters

Field of Interest/Specialty: Mathematics
Posted On: 12/07/2019

The Kite Fighters (2000) is a children’s book by Korean-American author Linda Sue Park, Park is best known for her Newbery Medal winning book A Single Shard. The second of Park’s novels, The Kite Fighters is set in 15th century Korea and tells a tale of two brothers who have a passion for flying kites, though they possess complementary skills. The elder brother, Kee-Sup has a talent for building kites, but struggles as a flyer. His younger brother Young-sup has an inherent ability to fly, but fails in kite construction. The story, while centered on kite flying, is really about the characters’ relationships. Her book describes and challenges the traditional Confucian relationships between older/younger sibling, father/son(s), and even emperor/subject. As Park explores these relationships, she seamlessly intersperses Korean history and culture to make the time period come alive. This is a perfect book for educators to motivate students in their study of eastern Asia. The story is not too long making it easy to include within a school curriculum. It is insightful and exciting, and contains many cross-curricular aspects useful for lesson delivery, student exploration, in-depth learning, and educational projects. I would definitely recommend this book to students and teachers alike.

Book review

Field of Interest/Specialty: Asian Studies
Posted On: 01/17/2019

In The Kite Fighters author Linda Sue Park depict the endless difficulties of growing up. In Korea during the fifteen-century two brothers, Young-sup and older brother Kee-sup have a passion for kites. They are enthusiastic about the New Year kite competition. With different skills, Young-sup can fly a kite like an expert and Kee-sup can design and build a kite design for a king. Their skills are noticed by young Korea’s king.
The story has a variety of authentic Korean traditions. The older brother is expected to represent and honor the family. However, Young-sup was chosen by Koreas’ young king to fly the royal kite in the New Year competition.
This book can be a great tool that I would definitely consider to make it available in my classroom. The suspense that young readers will encounter is great to keep them engaged. Students can benefit by learning different aspect of the culture such as family honor, traditions, respect, rules, and many other authentic Korean details.

The Kite Fighters: Highly Recommended for Middle School History

Field of Interest/Specialty: Social Studies
Posted On: 11/30/2017

My name is Linda Runion, I am a History teacher at a juvenile facility in Martinsburg, West Virginia. I enjoyed reading The Kite Fighters by Linda Sue Park, which is a story about two brothers in Seoul, Korea in 1473. I would use this book in my middle school history classroom, though a fictional book it does give the reader a glance at the lives of people in that time of Korean history. It also shows us how a young boy comes to respect his older brother. Respect is on area my students could use some help with and I think this would be a unique way for them to see respect symbolized. I would gladly recommend this book to other middle school history teachers. How I would use this book in my classroom: I would have the students read the book as we studied Korea as a country. As we finished the unit we would make kites, giving the students an opportunity to experience some of the joy and frustration the brothers in The Kite Fighters experienced.

Review of "The Kite Fighters"

Field of Interest/Specialty: Early care and education
Posted On: 11/09/2014

My name is Patty Graff and I teach adults who work in early care and education classrooms. The adults I work with teach in part day preschools, Head Start classrooms, full day child care/preschools, group home child cares and family day care homes. The adults all come to my classroom with a wide variety of backgrounds. Some have a degree in early childhood education, others with various college degrees, and still others only a high school degree. Some have worked in child care for many years and others only a few months. Topics of classes I teach, as well as classes taught by instructors I hire, cover content areas as identified by the State of Pennsylvania and the Keystone STARS Program.
One of the books I chose to read was “The Kite Fighters” by Linda Sue Park. It is the story of two young Korean boys who are brothers growing up in 1473 Seoul. The reader becomes immersed in their lives while learning about the dynamics between father and sons and the traditions related to age and birth place in the family. The story unfolds around the interests and skills of the two boys around kite flying and kite making. It also focuses on the dreams and wishes of each boy and how it may differ from those of the father.
The idea of kites and children captured my interest. I immediately thought about a few resources of my own that might help me introduce this book to adults and to help them think about how to use it in their own classrooms with children. I appreciate the concept of the Project Approach to teaching young children and I would want the adults coming to my class to have that experience as well. My intent would be to help them experience in a very small way what their children could experience on a larger scale. Sometimes a classroom project begins with the ideas of a child, other times it happens because of how the adult sets the stage. I envision displaying a kite hanging from the ceiling and maybe a few photos posted on the walls for the adults to see when they enter the classroom. If the adults do not initially ask questions, examine these items, or talk to one another about what they see I would “invite” the adults to look, wonder, ask, think, and explore.
But as I read the book I also found myself wanting to know more, to better understand the depth of the story being told. Even beyond the fascination of the kites themselves I thought this book would work well in a book study format. There are many aspects of the book to explore beyond the experience of the kite building and flying. I found concepts such as respect, family, patience, dedication, tradition, development of skills and much more threaded throughout the book. In the book study format early care and education teachers would have the opportunity to identify, discuss and investigate educational concepts defined by the Keystone STARS such as curriculum and learning experiences, family and schools, and communication then determine how to incorporate messages of the book into lessons and experiences for their classrooms.
I believe the teachers could also introduce this book to the children in much the same manner. An entire book does not have to be read in one sitting. In fact it is often better to read it in part to allow the reader/listener to work on concepts of concentration and comprehension. All this could be done when using the Project Approach to teaching which allows the teacher and learners to gain knowledge and experience based on the questions asked and how they actively seek the answers. This allows for the opportunities for learning to be gained over time which allows for digestion of and application of knowledge.
I found many of the same messages and experiences in several other children’s books which I recommend to others:
The Emperor and the Kite by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Ed Young
Dragon Dancing by Carole Lexa Schaefer and illustrated by Pierr Morgan
The Last Dragon by Susan Miho Nunes and illustrated by Chris K. Soentpiet
Another book resource I had available that may interest others is Kites by David Pelham which outlines history, construction, flying and kite patterns. Young children would love the pictures and the adults and older children would enjoy the depth of information contained within.
As I read the book “Kite Fighters” I wanted to know more about kites and ways to introduce kites to adults and children in a meaningful way. Below are some of the web links I found that could offer some support to the introduction of kites to the classroom setting. Offers information of kite fighting in various countries

The Kite Fighters

Field of Interest/Specialty: ECE
Posted On: 11/07/2014

Diane Hendrick M Ed. Coordinator WCCC Campus Children’s Center Ages 3-12
The Kite Fighters by Linda Sue Park
Appropriate for middle school age children
I think this book could be used in a lesson on perseverance and /or family dynamics/differences
The story takes place in Seoul, Korea in 1473. The main characters are two brothers Kee-sup (the oldest) and Young –sup.
The story begins shortly after the 15 day New Year celebration. During the celebration everyone celebrates his birthday and receives a gift. Kee-sup received a kite, a wonderful kite, a kite full of artistic details to represent a fierce presence into the sky. Young-sup’s birthday gift was a yut set, a traditional Korean board game.
Various times throughout the story Young-sup feels jealousy over his brother’s position in the family. As the oldest son Kee-sup is given to privileges not bestowed upon Young-sup. But even through these jealous feeling Young-sup is respectful because of his family’s belief in filial piety. You see Kee-sup had just had his capping ceremony which made him superior to Young-sup in the community’s eyes.
Even though the kite belonged to Kee-sup, Young-sup was a better kite flyer and frequently he would help Kee-sup with flying maneuvers. As the boys learned to fly better and better, from the distance a young king watched the kites sour and dip. One day he approached the brothers and asked them to make him a kite. And they did; a marvelously crafted, meticulously painted golden kite. The king and the brothers became friends, they played games together and they taught the king to fly the kite.
As a the new year celebration came close the king asked the Young-sup to fly the kite in the kite fighters competition because the king felt that no one would even try to beat the king if he competed. He knew Kee-sup was a great kite designer and builder while Young-sup was a great kite flyer. They agreed but only after talking to their father. The father would allow Kee-sup to fly the kite because he was the oldest. But Kee-sup, against filial tradition confronted his father who agreed to allow Young-sup to fly the kite. Kee-sup devised a mixture of porcelain powder and rice/glue to place on the kite string to make it cut the other lines more quickly. They only used the mixture after they had consulted with a kite expert and the king to make sure it was not against the rules.
On the day of the competition Young-sup won round after round but found that not only had the mixture helped him to cut the other’s kites strings it also began to fray his kite sting so all of the line with the mixture was cut away. He finally faced the reigning champion and won.
The story gives strength to the ideal behind filial piety, responsibility and honesty.