Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My Name is Yoon

Title: My Name is Yoon
Author: Helen Recorvits
Illustrator: Gabi Swiatkowska
Age Level: Elementary
Genre: Multicultural Children's Picture Book

This multicultural read is perfect for any elementary classroom, whether it is to teach a lesson on cultures and diversity, read aloud to a class, or have for students individual reading pleasure.  It is a culturally conscious story about Yoon, a girl from Korea, whose family moves to America where she feels alone and out of place.  In her American classroom, Yoon does not write her name in the english language, but instead writes cat, bird, and cupcake.  After making a friend and becoming empowered by her differences which she is later accepted for, Yoon finally writes her name in English.  I think this book would be especially beneficial to read to a class when there is a new student.  Or, for that new student to read individually, so that they can relate to the hardships of being in a new and unfamiliar setting.

Additionally, this book has entrancing illustrations that are painterly in style with shadowing and smooth blending of the brush strokes.  The images do a good job of depicting the text, which can really help the reader if they are struggling with the context of the story.  Within the illustrations are pieces of Yoon's daydreams, which are woven throughout the image and sometimes slightly hidden.  This is a fun way for students to interact with the pictures, and would be great to have in Big Book form so that the whole class could examine the illustrations.

My Name is Yoon is a great multicultural book in that it depicts some of the traditions and pieces of the Korean culture, thus educating the reader on a culture that may be different than their own.  The story itself bears a great lesson about acceptance, which is something that children of all ages and cultures struggle with throughout their school years.  Overall, I would highly recommend this books for its powerful illustrations, teachable cultural notes, and beneficial message.

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