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My Name Is Yoon (Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award, 2004) Hardcover – April 3, 2003


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My Name Is Yoon (Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award, 2004) + The Name Jar
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 320L (What's this?)
  • Series: Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st edition (April 3, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374351147
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374351144
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 10.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #127,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 2-With subtle grace, this moving story depicts a Korean girl's difficult adjustment to her new life in America. Yoon, or "Shining Wisdom," decides that her name looks much happier written in Korean than in English ("I did not like YOON. Lines. Circles. Each standing alone"). Still, she struggles to please her parents by learning an unfamiliar language while surrounded by strangers. Although her teacher encourages her to practice writing "Yoon," the child substitutes other words for her name, words that better express her inner fears and hopes. Calling herself "CAT," she dreams of hiding in a corner and cuddling with her mother. As "BIRD," she imagines herself flying back to Korea. Finally, she pretends she is "CUPCAKE," an identity that would allow her to gain the acceptance of her classmates. In the end, she comes to accept both her English name and her new American self, recognizing that however it is written, she is still Yoon. Swiatkowska's stunningly spare, almost surrealistic paintings enhance the story's message. The minimally furnished rooms of Yoon's home are contrasted with views of richly hued landscapes seen through open windows, creating a dreamlike quality that complements the girl's playful imaginings of cats on the chalkboard, trees growing on walls, and a gleeful flying cupcake. At first glance, Yoon seems rather static, but her cherubic face reveals the range of her feelings, from sadness and confusion to playfulness, and finally pride. A powerful and inspiring picture book.
Teri Markson, Stephen S. Wise Temple Elementary School, Los Angeles
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

K-Gr. 2. "I wanted to go back home to Korea. I did not like America. Everything was different here." Yoon doesn't want to learn the new ways. Her simple, first-person narrative stays true to the small immigrant child's bewildered viewpoint, and Swiatkowska's beautiful paintings, precise and slightly surreal, capture her sense of dislocation. Reminiscent of the work of Allen Say, the images set close-ups of the child at home and at school against traditional American landscapes distanced through window frames. In a classroom scene many children will relate to, everything is stark, detailed, and disconnected--the blackboard, the teacher's gestures, one kid's jeering face--a perfect depiction of the child's alienation. By the end, when Yoon is beginning to feel at home, the teacher and children are humanized, the surreal becomes playful and funny instead of scary, and Yoon is happy with friends in the wide, open school yard. Now she is part of the landscape. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Helen Recorvits was born in Rhode Island and graduated from Rhode Island College with a degree in education and psychology. She went on to earn a Master's degree and also a certification in gifted and talented education. A former educator, Helen now devotes her time to writing and to speaking at conferences and literary events.

Her first novel, GOODBYE WALTER MALINSKI(Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999) was chosen a National Council for Social Studies Notable Trade Book, and her second novel WHERE HEROES HIDE(2002) also received many fine reviews.

In 2003, her first picture book MY NAME IS YOON was published by FSG. YOON was chosen as an outstanding book of the year by the New York Is Book Country Committee, and was also named an ALA Notable Children's Book and an IRA Notable Books for a Global Society. It was listed as a Best Book of the Year by Child Magazine,Family Magazine, Bank Street Books, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal, and it was also a Booklist Editors' Choice. YOON also received the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award.

YOON AND THE CHRISTMAS MITTEN (2006) was chosen an NCSS-CBC Notable Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies book.

YOON AND THE JADE BRACELET(2008)
was chosen a Society of School Librarians International Honor Book and a Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year.

Her books have been translated into Danish, French, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish.

Helen says,"I remember my mother reading to me when I was two years old. My favorite books were Cinderella and The Pokey Little Puppy. I began writing my own stories and sharing them with my cousins when I was eight years old. When I was a teenager, I wrote a weekly column for a local newspaper."

Today Helen, mother of two grown sons, lives with her husband in the peaceful, woodsy town of Glocester, Rhode Island. Helen says, "I love reading and writing stories about interesting characters -- people trying to find their place in life, people with hope in their hearts."

Customer Reviews

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The story is well written, and beautifully illustrated.
GlassHouses
It is also a great conversation starter about different cultures and countries.
J. Madigan
This is a wonderful story that can be shared with any age group.
Scofield

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on August 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
In 2001 a book came out entitled, "The Name Jar" about a girl from Korea who had moved to America and wanted an Americanized name. Then, in 2003, "My Name Is Yoon" came out with practically the same plot. Normally, I have little sympathy for children's books that mimic their predecessors. In this case, however, there can be little doubt as to which book is the better of the two. "My Name Is Yoon", is a complex tale of imagination, flights of fancy, and gradual acceptance. By contrast, "The Name Jar" was simply okay. You can find ho-hum picture books lining the shelves of most libraries and bookstores around the globe. It is far rarer to find books quite as remarkable as the stunning, "Yoon".

Yoon isn't exactly thrilled to be in America. Wherever she looks, she sees that life is different in this strange new land. In Korea, where Yoon was born, her name meant Shining Wisdom. Despite her father's assurances that it means the same thing here, Yoon isn't so sure. And then there's the fact that when she writes her name using English characters, it's just a series of sticks and circles, whereas in Korean, "The symbols dance together". She's right. They do. Yoon carries her unhappiness to school where each day she learns a new word and makes that her name. One day it's cat. Another it's bird. Still another (and most amusingly) it's cupcake. In the end, Yoon learns to like her new country, supposing perhaps that maybe that being different can be good too. And in the end, she embraces her real name. "It still means Shining Wisdom".

I hate summarizing picture books where the plot, when written down, sounds so much hokier than it feels on the page. What I've just written sounds nice but bland. The book is anything but bland.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mitali Perkins on December 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Immigrant kids recognize that hesitation during roll call when a new teacher gets to their name. I used to dread it, but the experience depended on how a grownup handled these encounters with the unfamiliar. If only all teachers (and immigrant parents) were as wise as the ones in this book! Recorvits' poetic, spare text and Swiatkowska's imaginative paintings explore one aspect of feeling "foreign" -- an immigrant child's name. In a new language and a new alphabet, Yoon's beautiful Korean name seems foreign even to herself. Are you still "Yoon" when people outside the family pronounce your name differently? When they don't know that it means "shining wisdom?" For a child to feel at home in a new country, she needs a loving circle of teachers, parents, and classmates, as well as a good measure of her own courage. Reading My Name is Yoon might compensate somewhat if any of those crucial ingredients are missing.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Melissa J on April 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful story about a young Korean girl who has moved to America with her family. At school when she write her name Yoon in English for the first time, she decides that she likes her Korean characters more than the English version because, "My name looks happy in Korean. The symbols dance together."

She decides that she would like to go back to Korea because everything is different in America. Every day at school, her nice teacher asks her to write her name on a paper, and Yoon instead writes a different word that she has recently learned. The beautiful illustrations go along with these words, showing Yoon as a bird, cat, and cupcake. In the end Yoon realizes that perhaps America will be a good home, and that, "maybe different is good."

A great story for children to read, to aid in understanding and acceptance.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By K. Roman VINE VOICE on April 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Mischievous, Korean-born Yoon deals with starting school and learning English. She likes her name in Korean. It means shining wisdom. She is not so sure she likes YOON, her name written in English. The illustrations are stark, rich, and playful. Karen Woodworth Roman, East Asian Children's Books
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Scofield on February 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful story that can be shared with any age group. It's about a young Asian girl who comes to America and refuses to write her English name. Beautiful story that teaches a lesson at the end. The pictures are spectacular and very intricate. I love this book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By GlassHouses on September 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a great ice breaker for those first few days of school. The story is well written, and beautifully illustrated.

Young students can relate to the character, Yoon, on many levels.
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Format: Hardcover
In this beautiful picture book, Yoon, a little girl who has just emigrated from Korea, is having difficulty adjusting to her new life in America. Through first person narrative, the reader meets a confused little girl whose father tells her that she has to learn to write her name in English. She does not like the way that her name looks written in English, and prefers its appearance in Korean. Yoon's name means Shining Wisdom, however she struggles to accept that her name when written in English maintains its meaning. The challenge of accepting her English name; parallels her struggle with accepting her life in a new country.

Helen Recorvits' lovely words and Gabi Swiathkowaska's gorgeous illustrations present a story of assimilation that immigrant children often face in a new country. Clearly, this book can be used as a read-aloud and also as a prompt for classroom discussions of identity and related issues.
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