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The Ocean Calls: A Haenyeo Mermaid Story

By: Tina Cho

Illustrator: Jess X. Snow

Dayeon wants to be a haenyeo just like Grandma. The haenyeo dive off the coast o Jeju Island to pluck treasures from the sea—generations of Korean women have done so for centuries. To Dayeon, the haenyeo are as strong and graceful as mermaids. To give her strength, Dayeon eats Grandma’s abalone porridge. She practices holding her breath while they do the dishes. And when Grandma suits up for her next dive, Dayeon grabs her suit, flippers, and goggles. A scary memory of the sea keeps Dayeon clinging to the shore, but with Grandma’s guidance, Dayeon comes to appreciate the ocean’s many gifts.

Tina Cho’s The Ocean Calls, with luminous illustrations by muralist Jess X. Snow, is a classic in the making.

Author's note, with further information about the haenyeo tradition. Full-color illustrations were created digitally with hand-painted textures and line work.

ISBN: 9781984814869

JLG Release: Oct 2020

Sensitive Areas: None

Grandmothers and granddaughters , Jeju Island, South Korea , Haenyeo (Korean free divers) , Traditions , Oceans , Swimming , Fear , Bravery , Marine life , Women divers , Fishing

$17.55  Member Price

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Multicultural Elementary

Grades 2-6

12 titles/year


Book Details



First Release

October 2020



Dewey Classification


Trim Size

10" x 10"

Page Count


Accelerated Reader

Level 3.2; Points: 0.5;

Scholastic Reading Counts





Print Book


Hardcover edition



Potentially Sensitive Areas



Grandmothers and granddaughters, Jeju Island, South Korea, Haenyeo (Korean free divers), Traditions, Oceans, Swimming, Fear, Bravery, Marine life, Women divers, Fishing,

Standard MARC Record

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Cover Art

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Book Genres

Picture Book

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