So annoying.

Since moving back to Seoul, everything in Young-hee’s life just feels wrong — the local kids pick on her, school is a nightmare, her mom is always busy and distant, her insufferable little brother gets all the attention. Her father is missing and no one will talk about why.

Then Young-hee stumbles into a magical world, where the fairy stories of her childhood are real and all the frustrations of her regular life fade away — until her little brother is kidnapped by a goblin. The only way Young-hee can save him is by finding a magical plant called a pullocho.

Now Young-hee finds herself on an epic quest, encountering dragons, ghosts, tigers and all sorts of creatures from out of fairytales. But little does she know, not only is her brother’s life in her hands, so is the fate of an entire world.

To read chapter 1, just click here: as ePub, Mobi file, or PDF.


Spirited Away meets Labyrinth, an engaging fairy tale in the classic mold. I don’t have kids of my own—but if I did, I’d gladly hand them Young-hee and the Pullocho.”— Peter Watts, author of Starfish, Blindsight, and the Hugo Award-winning novella The Island

Young-hee and the Pullocho is a success on all fronts.  Russell has a vivid imagination and describes Young-hee’s journey across the strange, magical land with wit and charm.  The characters too, are fantastic … The story itself is genuinely magical, with some excellent twists and compelling detours … Highly recommended.” — Barry Welsh, 10 Magazine

Young-hee and the Pullocho is a delightful fantasy adventure, peppered with fable and no end of exquisite characters…. A fantastic novel for children 10+.” — Creative Kids Tales

“If you want to add some magic to your reading list, I’d definitely recommend this title. Young-Hee and the Pullocho is a wonderful way to get students and children interested in the world outside their own. The book is ideal for literature studies and perfect for use in classes deal with cultural studies. Strongly recommended.” — Nafiza, The Book Wars

“Author Mark James Russell does an incredible job with descriptive language; readers will want to reread the descriptions of the landscape, characters and events simply so they can enjoy the sentences a second time.” — Kidsreads

“A likable, modern heroine, Young-hee deals with challenges that, while sometimes dreamlike, bring about definite changes in her viewpoint. This quick-paced adventure story is one of the few middle-grade novels available here that reflect Korean culture and lore.” — Booklist

“… a delightful girl adventure story that encourages strong brother-sister relationships” — Amanda Boyarshinov, The Educators’ Spin on It

“Young-hee is a marvelous main character. You can really see how her character changes throughout the book, but it is subtle until the end then you realize the growth of the character… The story was compelling and the world created by Mr. Russell was exciting and described vividly. This was a cool multi-cultural story that many kids would enjoy.” This Kid Reviews Books

“Russell enriches his debut novel with many details borrowed from Korean folk tales. Fans of stories within stories will enjoy the tales included here…” — Kirkus Reviews

“The book cleverly intersperses the main plot with classically presented Korean folktales, emphasizing the mythical nature of the characters and introducing them without too much clunky explanation.” The Korea Herald

“Russell’s story is the product of years of difficult work, showing vast, in-depth research on Korean myths, folktales and legends.” — Kyunghyang Shinmun

Listen to Mark talk about Young-Hee & the Pullocho, children’s books, and some other subjects on Monocle Radio.

Where to pre-order: 


Barnes and Noble


Indigo (in Canada)

Kyobo Books (in Korea)

Yes24 (in Korea)

Tuttle Publishing