Middle school storybook profiles community

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Middle school storybook profiles community

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Suwan Middle School students display copies of the storybook they compiled this year during a publication party at the school on Dec. 14. “A Beautiful Acquaintance” is a heart-warming story that focuses on the local community. [GWANGSAN DISTRICT OFFICE]

Real people are the subject of “A Beautiful Acquaintance,” a newly released storybook compiled by the students at Suwan Middle School in Gwangju.

The book, which centers on the themes of community and goodwill, starts with a young protagonist who receives a note on his 11th birthday that reads, “If you meet a warm-hearted person, your family will be full of joy for one year.”

He goes on to meet 11 of his neighbors that day and soon comes to realize that the people around him enjoy helping others.

Those 11 people, however, feature not only in the book, but in the real-life neighborhood of Suwan, in Gwangsan District of Gwangju.

The compilation was a part of a community support project for the district.

For the project, the middle-schoolers conducted interviews with some 100 residents in the neighborhood earlier this year.

Six students, including Choi Wook-mi, 15, then collected those interviews and chose 11 people from among them to expand their stories.

The students also drew pictures, painted them and added photos to complete the book.

A few of the characters highlighted in the publication includes a middle-aged woman who has voluntarily played the guitar at a local hospital for the past four years; a supermarket owner who lent his building to be used as a free residential library; a dentist who treats foreign laborers for free; and a businessman who has donated blood 130 times over the past seven years.

To celebrate their accomplishments, the six students and the 11 residents held a small publication party on Dec. 14 at the school.

The Gwangsan District Office plans to publish some 1,000 copies of “A Beautiful Acquaintance” and distribute them to schools, the community center and the district library to showcase the students’ efforts.

BY KIM HO [koo.yurim@joongang.co.kr]

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