Friday, January 30, 2009

The Name Jar

By Yangsook Choi
Summary: This book is about a girl named Unhei who just came to the US from Korea. On her first day of school, she introduced herself to children on the bus and they began making fun of her name because it was different and difficult to pronounce. She then went into her class and when asked her name, she replied that she didn’t have one yet but she would choose and let the class know. The class gave her a name jar where they each put a name that she could take and she could then choose from the selection. Over the course of the book she’s told by her family as well as a friend she made that she should keep her own name because that was part of who she was. The day comes where she was supposed to pick a name and the jar was missing. She then has to present her name to the class and she ends up choosing her own name and teaches the class how it is written in Korean. She later finds out that her friend took the jar because he wanted her to keep her own name.
How I would use it in the classroom: This book could be used during a character study. I think it also could be used when students do the “self” unit because it does send out a message about identity and being proud of who you are.
Social Justice Education:
1. Self-love and Acceptance- Throughout the book, Unhei is learning that she should be proud of her culture and who she is. Finally, she does come to accept that she should keep her Korean name even though she has come to America.
2. Respect for Others- When Unhei presents herself to the class using her name, she also gives them a mini lesson on how it’s written in Korean, as well as what it means and how it is pronounced. By the end, the children seemed more accepting of her culture as they were saying her name correctly.

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