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Halmoni's Day Hardcover – August 1, 2000
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From School Library Journal
Grade 1-3-Jennifer's halmoni (grandmother) arrives from South Korea the day before Grandparents' Day at school. She speaks no English and wears traditional Korean garb, and Jennifer wonders what her classmates will think of her. The softly colored illustrations in oils show a woman so attractive in her silk gown, so quietly confident with her Americanized family, that readers are prepared for the outcome: Halmoni is welcomed and accepted. When each of the grandparents is given a special award, she receives one for "the grandparent who traveled the farthest to get here today." And when she tells the children a story from her own childhood (which her daughter translates), Jennifer glows with obvious pride and love. The illustrations lift this pleasantly predictable story to a more universal level. Though Halmoni is Korean, the message that all grandparents, regardless of their cultural origins, feel much the same about their grandchildren is clear. The characters are depicted in a realistic but soft-edged manner that is both affectionate and understated. While Sook Nyul Choi's books detail the specific differences between Korean and American food, customs, and clothing in a way that shows these differences to be interesting and positive, Bercaw concentrates on emphasizing the similarities among people of all cultures.
Marian Drabkin, Richmond Public Library, CA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Ages 5-8. Jennifer's grandmother is coming to visit just in time for her school's Grandparents' Day. At the airport, Jennifer is nearly as nervous as Halmoni, her Korean grandmother. Jennifer worries that Halmoni, who does not speak English and wears "strange clothes," will embarrass her during the class' Grandparents' Day. To her relief and surprise, Halmoni not only wins a prize as "the grandparent who traveled the farthest to get here," she charms the class with a family story. The plot is nothing new, but the heartwarming resolution is credible and satisfying. Although a bit static, the oil facial portraits radiate the mix of emotions in both grandchild and grandparent. The anxious image of Halmoni at the airport is particularly eloquent. First- and second-generation Asian American children will readily identify with Jennifer's mixed feelings, as will other children with "different" relatives. Linda Perkins
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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