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list price: $14.99
also available: Hardcover Audiobook
category: Children's Fiction 
published: Oct 2020
publisher: Orca Book Publishers

Once Upon an Hour

by Ann Yu-Kyung Choi, illustrated by Soyeon Kim

tagged: asian, date & time, bedtime & dreams

Key Selling Points

  • Combining a bedtime story with a folktale set in ancient Korea, this is a story within a story that is ultimately about the importance of working together to achieve a common goal.
  • The author is Korean and was prompted to write this story when she realized that many of the stories she was told as a child through oral storytelling would be lost to her daughter and to a generation of young Korean Canadians/Americans who no longer read or speak Korean.
  • The illustration process for this book was laborious and included the use of sketching and painting techniques to create three-dimensional dioramas that were then photographed.
  • The author was recognized by the Korean Canadian Heritage Awards Committee in 2017 for her dedication to promoting Korean culture in Canada.
About the Authors

Ann Yu-Kyung Choi immigrated to Canada from South Korea in 1975. She attended the University of Toronto where she studied English, sociology and education. Her debut novel, Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety (Simon & Schuster), was a 2016 Toronto Book Awards finalist and one of CBC Books’ 12 Best Canadian Debut Novels of 2016. Ann is an educator with the York Region District School Board in Ontario. She lives in Toronto with her family.

Soyeon Kim is a Korean-born artist and educator currently living in Toronto. She is a graduate of the Visual Arts and Education programs at York University and has participated in artist residences at the Hermitage (St. Petersburg, Russia), Spark Box Studios (Picton, Ontario) and the Toronto Public Library. She has illustrated a number of children's picture books, including Once Upon an Hour, You Are Stardust, Wild Ideas, Is This Panama?, Sukaq and the Raven, You Are Never Alone and A Last Goodbye. Soyeon won the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award in 2013.

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
3 to 5
p to k
Reading age:
3 to 5
  • Commended, BC Books for BC Schools
Editorial Reviews

“A curious premise with captivating illustrations.”

— Kirkus Reviews

“The repetitive text here is soothing in cadence...Pleasing colours, and the winsome expressions on the face of the hopeful child make readers sympathetic to the situation.”

— CM: Canadian Review of Materials

“Illustrations which are inexplicably special…The timeless and universal message of helping others will resonate with listeners of this story whether young or old. This book needs to be part of an elementary school library as well as pre-school and home libraries. By using animals who are active at different times of the day to teach the concept of time, this folktale is especially memorable as well as useful.”

— Must Read Literature

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