Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My Name Is Yoon

Title & Author:
My Name Is Yoon by Helen Recorvits

Purchase & More Info:
Barnes & Noble

My Name Is Yoon is a story about a Korean girl who moves to the United States as a small girl. The story is told through the perspective of the young girl. Her name in Korean means "Shining Wisdom," and Yoon absolutely loves how her name looks when written in Korean. Now that she is going to school in America, her father tells her that she has to learn how to learn her name in English. When he teaches her how she becomes upset, saying "I did not like Yoon. Lines. Cirlcles. Each standing alone." She goes on to tell how much more she likes to write her name in Korean because all of the lines in the character "dance together." Instead of writing her actual name on her papers, she wants to write other words that she learns because they make her happy.

My Response:
This book is very similar to another book that I have read called "The Name Jar." In both accounts there is a Korean girl struggling with her new identity as an American student. I love the illustrations in the book because they are so imaginative, and I also think it is a positive that the Korean symbol for her name is included in the book. I agree with what Josephine said about the depictions of Korean people as sometimes making them look "crazy" but feel that this book does not follow this path.

In The Classroom:
This book is beneficial because while it is about a Korean girl and her Korean background, the concept is one that is easily applicable to many students. As our classrooms grow more and more culturally diverse, there is a good chance that we will have students who were born somewhere other than the US. A book such as this helps them deal with some of the identity issues in coming to a new country and feeling as though you don't "fit in." Additionally, I think that with names being so much a part of who we are, this book could be the beginning of an early in the year project with younger students. We could look at various languages and cultures, and identify their names within them to create a board of self-identities. This could tie in nicely with the pastel portrait project we did, and any Korean symbols for names could even be included in the actual drawings. With self-identity being a large issue, I felt this book did a pretty good job of giving a starting point for discussions, without being offensive to any cultures or groups portrayed.

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