book review, Books

Project Mulberry

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I was walking in the yard the other day and discovered that some how we have a volunteer mulberry tree. Well it’s just huge and it’s growing mulberries.

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For someone who walks their yard everyday I don’t really know how I missed this but I did. As the family began picking Mulberries, we were reminded of the most incredible story about a mulberry leaf, silkworm project written by Linda Sue Park (author of The Single Shard) called, Project Mulberry.

Project Mulberry by Linda Sue Park

240 pages for Grades 4-7


Julia, a 7th grader who has just moved to Plainfield Illinois with her family is coming to terms with her new home and school environments. From the moment they meet, Julia and Patrick become best friends. Needing a project to enter in the State Fair, they ask Julia’s mom , who suggests raising silkworms. Julia refuses this idea at first because she is wanting something a little more American. Julia’s parents are Korean and she feels very self conscious about her asian heritage. Julia doesn’t want to be identified or labeled by her culture.

Finally, Julia accepts the project and reluctantly takes on the responsibilities which are needed to complete the project. Each unfolding step into the world of silkworms helps Julia to embrace her heritage and value her friendship with Patrick even more.

Woven into the story are the themes of racism, nature’s cycles, life and death, folk art, family relations, self-acceptance and sustainable farming. At the end of each chapter Julia, the main character, has a discussion with the author Linda Sue Park about the direction the story should take. It opens the door to the inside world of the writer’s process.

Something To Do

As we stood under our mulberry tree remembering this great story, we decided right then and there that we had to grow our own silkworms. I must admit to you that we are at the beginning of this process and are waiting for our little silkworm eggs to arrive. We promise to keep you updated on our progress.

Would you like to join us in growing silk worms? Just leave a comment below and let us know if you will share this experience with us.

Here’s where you can order the silkworms:

The Carolina Company has a silkworm farm kit.

They also offer silkworm eggs and food.

A few weeks ago I saw the most interesting TED talk about what they are now using silk for. It’s amazing and is being used in ways one could not even imagine. It is taking science and technology to a new level. This is a great video for kids probably age 8 and older.