Born in Seoul, South Korea; children: Sahn. Education: Seoul National University, B.F.A., 1996; Camberwell College of Arts, M.A., 2001.
Home and office—Singapore.
Artist, author, and illustrator of children's books. Founder of Hintoki Press. Exhibitions: Illustrations have been featured in exhibitions in the United States, South Korea, Germany, France, and England.
Most Beautiful Swiss Books selection, Swiss Federal Office of Culture, 2003, for La revanche des lapins; Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts selection, National Council of Teachers of English, 2008, for The Zoo; Gold Medal, Original Art, Society of Illustrators, 2008, for Wave.
La revanche des lapins (title means "The Revenge of the Rabbits"), Editions la Joie de Lire (Geneva, Switzerland), 2003.
Mirror, Edizioni Corraini (Mantova, Italy), 2003.
Action Korean Alphabet, Chondung Books (Seoul, South Korea), 2006.
The Black Bird, Chondung Books (Seoul, South Korea), 2007.
The Zoo, Kane/Miller (La Jolla, CA), 2007.
Wave, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 2008.
Contributor to Mis primeras 80,000 palabras (title means "My First 80,000 Words"), edited by Vicente Ferrer, Media Vaca (Valencia, Spain), 2002. Author and illustrator of short story "The Rabbit Hole," published in Gunzo literary magazine, 2005.
Uwe Timm, Run Rudi!, Changbi (Seoul, South Korea), 1999.
Seok Baek, Deaf Raccoon, Woongjin (Seoul, South Korea), 1999.
(And adaptor) Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland, Edizioni Corraini (Mantova, Italy), 2002.
Brothers Grimm, Little Red Riding Hood, translated by Ho-Sang Jo, Woongjin (Seoul, South Korea), 2004.
Seung-Yeon Moon, The Naked Painters, Chondung Books (Seoul, South Korea), 2005.
Jung-Sun Park, Open the Door!, BIR (Seoul, South Korea), 2008.
South Korean artist Suzy Lee has created paintings exhibited around the world as well as illustrations for picture books published in several countries. Lee has been cited by several critics for her limited use of text; instead she concentrates on artwork to communicate her message to the reader. "I tend to think in visual images," the illustrator explained in an online interview with Chronicle Books. "Often a story comes in a visual form at first. And the story built by the series of pictures usually does not need to have any words added later on. Some stories are best told without words."
In 2007, Lee entered the U.S. children's picture-book market with the publication of The Zoo, a nearly wordless tale about a young girl's outing with her parents. As the family walks through the zoo, the somber illustrations depict cages empty of animals. Spotting a colorful peacock, the young girl leaves her parents behind to chase after it, leading her to more vibrantly colored creatures with whom she enjoys her visit. By story's end, the missing girl's parents discover her asleep on a park bench, and all of the animals wish her a colorful goodbye as the reunited family departs. Writing in Kirkus Reviews, a contributor described Lee's artwork as "wonderfully detailed, patterned and angular, with much to look at with delight," while School Library Journal reviewer Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst recommended The Zoo as a "sophisticated picture book" for "older readers who are willing to explore its complicated visual images."
In Wave, Lee "perfectly captures a child's day at the beach," observed School Library Journal critic Kim T. Ha. In the book a young girl conquers her own fear of the thundering water and befriends a flock of seagulls during a day at the beach. Using only shades of blue and gray in this wordless picture book, Lee engages the young girl in a slow dance with the sea, with the sea eventually sending a large wave that briefly submerges the surprised youngster. However, as the water from the giant wave recedes, the sea reveals seashell treasures to the delight of the girl. According to New York Times Book Review critic Becca Zerkin, the author/illustrator "portrays a universal childhood experience of carefree adventure," and a reviewer in Publishers Weekly deemed Wave "a book whose rewards multiply with rereading."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2007, review of The Zoo, p. 125; May 1, 2008, review of Wave.
New York Times Book Review, July 13, 2008, Becca Zerkin, review of Wave.
Publishers Weekly, May 5, 2008, review of Wave, p. 62.
School Library Journal, June, 2007, Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, review of The Zoo, p. 110; May, 2008, Kim T. Ha, review of Wave, p. 102.
Chronicle Books Web site,http://www.chroniclebooks.com/ (September 22, 2008), interview with Lee.
Suzy Lee Home Page,http://www.suzyleebooks.com (September 22, 2008).