By Kristina Houck
When her husband received a job offer in San Diego, Yeorim Yoon cried. A native of South Korea, she was worried about learning a new language and adapting to a new culture.
“But it was a very good opportunity for my husband and it was an opportunity for my kids to see around the world,” Yoon said. “So I surrendered.”
It’s been three years since Yoon and her family moved to Carmel Valley. Her husband, Chang-Shik Kim, works at Texas Instruments. Her fourth-grade daughter and seventh-grade son attend local schools. And Yoon continues to write.
An author of more than 40 Korean children’s books, Yoon will present her latest picture books for the first time Feb. 24 at the Carmel Valley Library. The books cover topics such as self-esteem and family values.
Yoon’s daughter inspired her to write one of the books, “I Like Myself.”
“I didn’t like myself. Often, I was depressed,” Yoon said. “But one day, I saw my daughter. She was always happy, always happy with herself. I was very impressed and I got inspiration from her. It is important to like myself.”
“I Like Myself” became the first book in her latest picture book set. She will also present the set’s “Hello, Everybody” at the library. Both books are accompanied with a music disc.
“This book is meaningful to me,” she said.
An avid reader as a child, Yoon always dreamed of being an author.
“I always read and read until my parents turned off the lights,” Yoon recalled. “Then I kept reading with a tiny light under the blanket. I imagined someday I would be a writer.”
Before becoming an author, Yoon worked as a picture book editor for eight years. She started writing 12 years ago, when she was pregnant with her son.
“When I was pregnant, I made up my mind that I would be a writer because I could work at home with my kids,” she said. “I loved writing, so I wanted to try to make my dream come true.”
Her first book was called “I want to be an artist.” Published in 2008, the book was inspired by her aunt, Suk Nam Yun, a prominent South Korean artist.
Although she has written dozens of books since, Yoon said she has not yet accomplished her dream. She has many more stories to tell.
“I am happy I am a writer, but I have many stories to write in the future,” she said. “My dream is to write until I die.”
When Yoon returns to South Korea, she plans to use her experience in the United States to write a science-fiction novel for young adults.
“I had a very tough time to adjust to this new life because of my English and my culture,” she said. “I think I got many experiences to give many aspects to my new stories. Someday, I want to write about a person who has to adjust himself or herself to an unfamiliar environment.”
Until then, Yoon continues to write picture books and works with her English teacher, Vickie Ahumada. Ahumada encouraged her student to share her stories at the library.
“She is very talented,” said Ahumada, who retired from San Dieguito Union High School District in 2000 and currently works at San Dieguito Adult School. “We have to encourage her and applaud her while she is here.”
Story time with Yoon will begin at 10 a.m. Feb. 24 at the Carmel Valley Library, 3919 Townsgate Drive, San Diego, 92130. Although geared for preschoolers, children of all ages are welcome.