I Am the Subway

i am the subway

How do we take our children out of the world they know, what they see everyday, and stretch them so they get familiar with, get comfortable with, find acceptance for all of the different cultures around our globe?  We read them picture books that show them how those people live, how much we have in common, and how wonderful it is that we have cultural differences we can share and explore.  Here is a powerful place to begin that essential journey around our world.

Ever ridden the subway and wondered about the lives of the other people sitting around you?  Where are they going? What are they thinking about?  What is their story?

The subway knows the answers to those questions.  The subway sees the people get on and off every day.  The subway is listening and caring about what brings them on board.

Now we could be in New York City or Paris or London or anywhere in the world with a subway line.  This story is an inside look at the people who are riding the subway in Seoul, South Korea.  So we start out in a diverse city, maybe a city you have never been to, and we follow the subway from station to station listening to the ba-dum, ba-dum, ba-dum sound you know well if you have ever ridden a subway along the tracks in your city.

The subway makes its stops and starts and with every turn of the page someone new gets on the subway and the subway tells us their story.  Maybe the person is a young student feeling a lot of pressure.  Maybe the person is a father who hurries home to see the smile of his daughter.  Maybe the person is happy, tired, sad.  They could be any of us making our way through our day.

This book is an invitation to valuable quality called empathy.  It’s a beautiful bridge to seeing the lives of others and ourselves as stories.  Every life is a story with happy and sad and hope and joy and despair.  It doesn’t matter what stop you get on at and it doesn’t matter what city your subway travels.  We are all human beings writing our stories minute by minute.

Insightful, sensitive, moving us past the color of our skin, into the shared space of living a life.  Perfect for every classroom and library especially those looking to bring more diversity to their shelves.

52 pages                        978-1950354658                     Ages 4-8

Keywords:  subway, diversity, diverse, Asia, Asian culture, empathy, Character Building Curriculum, Social Studies Curriculum, understanding others, 4 year old, 5 year old, 6 year old, 7 year old, 8 year old, city life

Recommended by:  Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com

Perfect pairing with Dream Street


A cinematic journey through the Seoul subway that masterfully portrays the many unique lives we travel alongside whenever we take the train. A poetic translation of the bestselling Korean picture book.


★ “Lucky readers, climb aboard: extraordinary explorations await.” ―Shelf Awareness

★ “I Am the Subway makes for an unforgettable journey.” ―Bookpage

★ “[S]ensitive, closely observed portraits.” ―Publishers Weekly

★ “A contemplative, poignant rendering of everyday journeys.” ―Kirkus Reviews

★ “[B]eautiful and unusual.” ―Youth Services Book Review

★ “Bewitching.” ―Foreword

Accompanied by the constant, rumbling ba-dum ba-dum of its passage through the city, the subway has stories to tell. Between sunrise and sunset, it welcomes and farewells people, and holds them―along with their joys, hopes, fears, and memories―in its embrace.

Originally published in Korean and brought to English-speaking audiences with the help of renowned translator Deborah Smith (The Vegetarian), I Am the Subway vividly reflects the shared humanity that can be found in crowded metropolitan cities.---from the publisher

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