Bibliographic Information: Recorvits, Helen (2003). My Name is Yoon. New York: Frances Foster Books.
Plot Description: Yoon is a young girl who has just moved to the United States from Korea. In preparation for going to school she must learn to write her name in English. She does not like the way the lines and circles of her name look standing alone, instead of ‘dancing together’ as they do in Korean. On the first day of school the teacher shows pictures and sings a song about a cat. Yoon does not know what the word CAT means, but she knows what the picture says. The teacher gives her a paper to practice writing her name, but instead of Yoon, she writes CAT over and over. The teacher says, “so you are Cat?” and the girl behind her giggles. Each day she imagines herself as something else and writes that instead of her name. One day she makes friends with a girl who gives her a cupcake and she writes Cupcake on her paper instead of her name. The teacher smiles when she reads it. When Yoon gets home she sings a song she learned in English for her parents and tells them about her new friend. They are very proud. The next day at school she could hardly wait to write. This time she wrote Yoon.
Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile Measure: 320L Interest Level: Lower Grades ATOS Book Level: 2.3
Qualitative Reading Analysis: The text consists of simple sentences. The reader sees Yoon’s name written in Korean, but it is explained what the symbol means. The story is told through the eyes of a young girl. Sentences are not complex. They are simple, as if a child were talking. The pictures help to illustrate the meaning of the text. For example, when Yoon wishes she were something else, like a cat, a bird or a cupcake, she is drawn as those things to show what she is imagining. The pictures are not necessary for comprehension, but they help the story come to life. Poetic language is used as Yoon makes her wishes, using metaphors to say she is different things. Organization is sequential and chronological. Explores themes of adjustment, as Yoon begins her life in the US. Experiences may be familiar to immigrant students and show other readers what the immigrant experience is like for children.
Content Area: Reading, Language Arts
Content Area Standard:
English Language Arts Standards for Reading: College and Career Readiness: Anchor Standards for Writing:CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.2.8 Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
Curriculum Suggestions: Ask students what their names mean. Have them research their names and write about whether or not they think their name fits them. Then have students create acrostic poems with their names.
Supporting Digital Content:
Awards: ALA Notable/Best Books; SLJ Best Book; Publishers Weekly Best Book; Booklist Editors’ Choice; Ezra Jack Keats Award
Character names/descriptions: Yoon, a young Korean girl who has just moved to the US and at first experiences some trouble adjusting to her new home.
Personal Thoughts: This would be a great book to share with ELL, for them to connect with Yoon’s character and her initial discomfort in her new country, but also for other students to better understand how immigrant students feel and perhaps make them more accepting.
High interest annotation: Yoon doesn’t like the way her name looks in English. When her new teacher asks her to write her name, Yoon imagines all types of creative things to be instead of Yoon.