NEW YORK (Dec. 23, 2013) — Now an Indie Bestseller, “The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly” (Penguin Paperback Original) is a Korean Charlotte’s Web and No. 1 international bestseller that is winning hearts around the world.
From author Sun-mi Hwang, translated by Chi-Young Kim, and with illustrations by the Japanese artist Nomoco, the book has now sold more than 2 million copies in Korea, and has been on bestseller lists there for the last ten years.
Penguin recently published the first English language edition, which is an Amazon “Best of the Month” pick and “Featured Debut.”
The story follows Sprout, a hen forced to live out her days in captivity on an industrial egg farm. More than anything, she longs for the freedom to hatch a baby chick of her own and is heartbroken when, each morning, she must give up her eggs to the farmer’s wife.
The uniquely simple and moving story explores ideas of parenthood, self-sacrifice, friendship, belonging, and, ultimately, what it means to confront one’s own mortality.
After Sprout escapes into the wild, she discovers an unprotected egg with mysterious origins. With a fierce maternal instinct, she takes the egg under her own protection in the hopes that it will one day hatch. She also befriends Straggler, a wild duck who, like her, hasn’t quite found his place in the world.
Both Sprout and Straggler find themselves defending each other against the elements, the antagonism of the other barnyard animals, and the sly one-eyed weasel who is always in search of her next meal. Throughout it all, Sprout proves a plucky, indefatigable heroine who must eventually come to terms with the immense sacrifices of being a mother.
Enhanced with charming and evocative illustrations by the Japanese artist Nomoco, this is the first English-language edition of a novel that is a contemporary classic in Korea, and that is being published by leading publishers around the world. It has sold more than 2 million copies in Korea and has been on bestseller lists for the last ten years.
Reminiscent of E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web and Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull, “The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly” is part adventure story and part philosophical novel that champions the ideals of freedom and individuality.
Sun-mi Hwang is a beloved writer in South Korea, where she has won many awards and published more than forty books enjoyed by adults and children alike. Born in 1963, she was unable to attend middle school due to poverty, but thanks to a teacher who gave her a key to a classroom, she could go to the school and read books whenever she wanted. She enrolled in high school by taking a certificate examination, and she graduated from the creative writing departments at Seoul Institute of the Arts and Gwangju University, and from the graduate school of Chung-ang University. She lives in Seoul, South Korea.
Upon its publication in 2000, “The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly” became an instant classic, remaining on bestseller lists for ten years and inspiring the highest grossing animated film in Korean history. It has also been adapted into a comic book, a play, and a musical, and has been translated into over a dozen languages.
Chi-Young Kim is the translator of the nationally bestselling Korean novel Please Look After Mom by Kyung-sook Shin.
Nomoco is a Japanese designer and illustrator currently based in London.
“The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly” is also available as an e-book.