Former ABC30 Anchor and Reporter Christine Paik (formerly known by her maiden name, Park) has poured her own heart and heritage into a dream project.
This week she released her first children's book, The Girl in the Gold Dress, which reflects Korean American culture in a multi-generational story and hopes to inspire appreciation and pride beyond the pages.
The book features a 10-year-old girl who performs a traditional Korean fan dance at her school's talent show.
"She has this dress rehearsal, and she just bombs," she said. "She can't bring herself to do it and she's too embarrassed, it's too different and too Korean. So she has this conversation with her mom on the way to the actual talent show. Her mom tells her the story of the dress she's wearing and its link to her family history. It really changes her perspective from embarrassment to pride as she goes on to really just nail it."
Paik says growing up, there weren't many books with Asian American heroines - and that hasn't changed much.
With the rise in anti-Asian violence in the U.S., she felt an urgency to act. Written during the pandemic, it was a passion project with her mother, Jung Lin Park, who illustrated the book.
"It's just a really great way to, number one, have Asian American kids see books that are reflective of their own experiences or their own cultural heritage or upbringing," she said. "Number two, expose kids of all backgrounds and all ages to Korean American, Asian American culture in an educational respectful beautiful way. Three, you know, you hope that by exposing kids to more diverse literature, they grew up to be adults who respect other cultures and differences.
Her mom majored in art in Seoul, Korea but her love for painting was put on hold after immigrating to America and raising three children.
"It's so meaningful because I know what she sacrificed, and what she gave up to give me, the life and opportunity that I have. And so in a way for me, it's a way to pay her back and, you know and say, look, we can do this together. We have something that lasts beyond us."
More information on the book: