Project Mulberry by Linda Sue Park.
Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Company: NY, 2005.

Julia and Patrick have a project to do for a club which emphasizes raising animals, growing plants, and practicing crafts. They want the club to pick their project to enter the state fair. Living in an apartment limits the choices of animals they can raise, so Julia's mother suggests silkworms which she had helped raise as a girl in Korea. Patrick is enthusiastic about the idea because of its uniqueness and practical applications. Julia tries to sabotage the project idea, because she would rather do something traditionally American. For the sake of their friendship, Julia eventually accepts the silkworms as a project. It is an excellent project after all with the life cycle of the silkworms, video footage of each stage plus a scrapbook and a finished product (their own silk used in embroidery).

Besides friendship and the life cycle, Linda Sue Park weaves in sustainable farming, racial prejudice, phobias, how to deal with the annoyance of a sibling, and the writing process itself.

I always enjoy reading Linda Sue Park's books. Her subject matter is unique, contemplative, and a pleasure to read. In this book, she experiments with a new concept-adding conversation between the main character and herself after each chapter. Slightly odd, it is interesting and works well in the story.

related-silkworms, Korean American, friendship, life cycle, sustainable agriculture, 4H clubs, family farm vs. commercial farm, racial prejudice, tolerance, patience, phobia, younger brother, writing process, authorship, mulberry tree, state quarters

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