By Laura Ennis, BK Story Voyager Librarian
The Name Jar
By Yangsook Choi
(For readers in grades PreK–2)
The hero of “The Name Jar”, Unhei comes to America from Korea to America, so she has to adjust to a new language, new school, and a new culture. She worries that her classmates will not be able to pronounce her name. Then on the school bus ride to her first day of school, she explains to her bus mates that it is pronounced “Yoon-hye,” but they can’t quite get her name right. She then decides she should have a new name and asks her fellow students for suggestions.
Yangsook Choi does a wonderful job of creating a story about accepting cultural diversity and trying to fit in. As Unhei gets acclimated to her new life, she learns how to hold on to her roots while becoming a member of a new community. She also discovers that she can teach her new classmates about Korea. Choi shares Unhei’s story through complex dialogue and strong character development. During the course of the book, the reader’s empathy engages as Unhei figures out what is in a name.
“The Name Jar” showcases that people need to come together in order to create a community around our differences. If you want your child to learn more about the meaning of a name and how being different can be a gift, “The Name Jar” is the perfect story to share in April!