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Breakfast on the MoonLee Su-yeon
『Breakfast on the Moon』Author : Lee Su-yeon
Publisher : Wisdomhouse
Publication date : August 5, 2020
Number of pages : 124
Format : 180x254mm
ISBN : 9791190908221
Don’t Turn into an Adult Who’s Insensitive to Violence!
This picture book captures with subtlety and perceptiveness the complex and delicate emotions of pre-teens or young adolescents, sensitive to and uneasy about peer relations. The book features a bullied rabbit and a bear who is her one friend, but also a bystander to bullying. Its unique structure intersects the actual story of the rabbit and the bear with the fanciful atmosphere of the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It also alludes to the violence involving teens with an incident of indiscriminate violence against a street cat. Multi-layered stories are carefully weaved together in this picture book, where surprisingly, the narrator is the bear. Following the story of the bystander bear, we soon find ourselves facing our own reflection, so accustomed to pretend to be unaware of what’s happening around us.
The bear and the rabbit live next door and are in the same class at school. Though they go together to school every morning and text each other until bedtime, in front of their classmates, the bear pretends not to know the rabbit. He hangs out with the pigeons who bully the rabbit, and pretends to be oblivious even when she falls into a potentially violent situation. Though the bear is ill at ease seeing the rabbit like that, he pretends not to know her. He is afraid the other children might start whispering if he talks to her, and afraid that he too might be bullied. He even says, “That’s your problem. Why are you always so cold? Try to be a bit more friendly to the other kids,” and goes so far as to attribute the reason for the bullying to her. Then one day, the bear and the rabbit come across a street cat being indiscriminately attacked. They are indignant at the violence directed against it, and they want to protect the cat. The violence against the street cat parallels the violence that takes place in the classroom. After the incident that makes him realize the rabbit’s fear and loneliness, the bear tries to break away from his bystander stance. Violence can be stopped if indifferent bystanders come to sympathize with and address the victim’s pain and inform someone about it. This fact, self-evident but difficult to put into practice, is conveyed through the picture book, reminding us the importance of not turning away from someone who is a victim of bullying. “I’d like to tell children, many of whom are trapped in solitude, how precious they are, how many possibilities they hold. I’d like to tell them more of the stories that I can tell.” The author’s words carry the hope that our children won’t grow up to become adults who are insensitive to violence, instead becoming people like the bear who will always be there for all the rabbits of the world.