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A Piece of Home
Contributor(s): Watts, Jeri, Yum, Hyewon (Illustrator)
ISBN: 0763669717     ISBN-13: 9780763669713
Publisher: Candlewick Pr
    OUR PRICE: $15.29  
Product Type: School And Library
Published: June 2016
Annotation: Moving with his family from Korea to West Virginia, Hee Jun struggles to adjust to his new home, an unfamiliar language and the different appearances of his classmates before making friends and bringing a familiar flower home to his grandmother. Illustrated by the award-winning artist of Mom, It's My First Day of Kindergarten!
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Moving, Household; Juvenile fiction.
Koreans; West Virginia; Juvenile fiction.
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | United States
- Juvenile Fiction | Social Issues | Emigration & Immigration
- Juvenile Fiction | Family | Multigenerational
Dewey: [E]
LCCN: 2015934766
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 1-2, Age 6-7
Book type: Easy Fiction
Physical Information: 11.00" H x 8.00" W x 0.25" (0.85 lbs)
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 182216
Reading Level: 3.6   Interest Level: Lower Grades   Point Value: 0.5
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q68848
Reading Level: 2.7   Interest Level: Grades K-2   Point Value: 1.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): Jeri Watts has written numerous short stories as well as the picture book Keepers and the middle-grade novel Kizzy Ann Stamps. She lives in Virginia, where she is a professor at Lynchburg College.

Hyewon Yum is the author and illustrator of several acclaimed books for children. She has received the Society of Illustrator's Founder's Award, the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award, an Honorable Mention for the Bologna Ragazzi Award, and the Golden Kite Award for her work. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2016 Fall)
After moving from Korea to West Virginia, narrator Hee Jun, his younger sister, and his grandmother have difficulty adjusting, especially since they don't speak English. Without minimizing their troubles, the story shows how, given time and help from others, they manage to make themselves at home. Expressive watercolor illustrations, featuring occasional Korean speech balloons, help illuminate the immigrant experience. Copyright 2016 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2016 March #4)

Hee Jun and his family have moved from Korea to West Virginia, where his father has accepted a teaching job. The whole family struggles: "In Korea, I was ordinary," reflects the school-age boy. "I was not extraordinary, not different." His grandmother, a "wise and wonderful teacher" in Korea, sits dull-eyed on their new front porch. After Se Ra, Hee Jun's younger sister, "bites and kicks and even spits on her teacher," it's suggested that Grandmother attend school with her so they can both learn English. Yum's (Puddle) colorful spreads carefully attend to the characters' expressions, emotions, and relationships. Grandmother's favorite Korean flower turns out to grow in the garden of Hee Jun's new friend, Steve. "?‘Rose of Sharon,' Steve says. ‘It's mugunghwa in Korea,' I say. ‘It's rose of Sharon here,' Steve says." When Hee Jun brings a sprig back to his grandmother, readers know it's the beginning of an ordinary life for the family. Closely observed and greatly moving, Watts's (Kizzy Ann Stamps) story is a useful springboard for discussions about difference and tolerance. Ages 5–8. Illustrator's agent: Sean McCarthy, Sean McCarthy Agency. (June)

[Page ]. Copyright 2016 PWxyz LLC

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2016 May)

K-Gr 2—When his family moves from Korea to West Virginia, Hee Jun has a difficult time adjusting. He doesn't look like the other children, he can't understand English, and when he tries to speak, the words "feel like stones…in [his] mouth." Even the sky looks "smaller and darker" than in Korea. His grandmother stays in school each day with his little sister, who is also having a hard time, but Hee Jun must cope on his own. As the months pass, though, brother, sister, and grandmother begin to learn English and Hee Jun slowly transforms from an outsider to an ordinary boy among his classmates. The story comes full circle when Hee Jun brings home a gift from a new friend—a rose of Sharon plant, the English name for the mugunghwa blossoms his grandmother grew in Korea. "'A piece of heaven,' she says. 'A piece of home.'" The young boy's distress, as well as his grandmother's, at not fitting in is evident in the large watercolor illustrations. He appears alone in his front yard, slumped over his desk, or frowning as he sits in the center of the classroom. Grandmother changes from the brightly dressed teacher she was in Korea to a bowed woman wearing drab clothing. But the mugunghwa plant, foreshadowed on the title page, brings renewed spirit to them both as they savor a piece of home. This immigration story, paired with Irena Kobald's My Two Blankets, can offer readers who feel different and alone hope that things will get better, and may encourage others to help them on their way. VERDICT The lengthy text paints a realistic picture of difficulties faced by a family striving to make a new start, and the positive resolution is quietly satisfying. A solid addition for most collections.—Marianne Saccardi, Children's Literature Consultant, Greenwich, CT

[Page 87]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.