Perfect Picture Book Friday – The Name Jar

Happy Friday, Everyone!

What a crazy week, huh?  All I can say is, no one in my neck of the woods is going to pay any attention to whatever the weather person says next!

But they better listen up to the Weather Hog!

That’s right!  Only 3 more days until GROUNDHOG DAY!  And you know what THAT means, right?


Some awesome Phyllis-lovers have already put together their poems for Phyllis, ready for Monday’s special post, but if you haven’t heard about it and want to join in, hop over HERE.

And now, for today’s Perfect Picture Book which has nothing whatsoever to do with Groundhog Day, winter, snowpocalypses, etc. but is still an excellent book which I highly recommend! 🙂

Title: The Name Jar
Written & Illustrated By: Yangsook Choi
Dragonfly Books, 2001, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: acceptance/tolerance, fitting in, feeling different, multicultural diversity (Korean-American), being the new kid, names

Opening: “Through the school bus window, Unhei looked out at the strange buildings and houses on the way to her new school.  It was her first day, and she was both nervous and excited.

Brief Synopsis: Unhei’s (pronounced Yoon-hye) first encounter with her American schoolmates leaves her feeling uncertain about her name, and different from everyone else.  Her name is difficult to pronounce.  Kids make fun of it.  It sets her apart.  How much easier to be Amanda, Laura, or Suzy!  So when she enters her new classroom, she tells the teacher she hasn’t chosen her name yet – she’ll let him know next week.  All through the week, her classmates fill a name jar with suggestions they think she might like.  But in the end, she is not Amanda, Laura or Suzy.  She is Unhei.  And she comes to realize just how special that is.

Links To Resources: Classroom Activities for The Name Jar; teaching tolerance with The Name Jar; more teaching resources for The Name Jar; make your own Name Jar.

Why I Like This Book:  This book is beautifully written, clearly communicating Unhei’s acute agony over having a name that’s different from everyone else’s which is just the tip of the iceberg of being and feeling different.  She just wants to fit in.  But she also loves her Korean family, the Korean market that feels like a little piece of home in this strange new world, and her Korean heritage.  She knows the history of her name – how her grandmother and mother went to a name master specially to get the perfect name for her – Unhei, which means “grace.”  She doesn’t want to let go of that.  It takes a special friend to help her see that Unhei is who she is and should be.  A great choice for any child who is having trouble fitting in, or to help children have more understanding of a friend or classmate who might feel that way.

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!

Have a great weekend, everyone, and GET READY FOR GROUNDHOG DAY!  WOO HOO! 🙂

55 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday – The Name Jar

  1. Clarbojahn says:

    I need to get this book. When we came to the states both my brothers had to have their names changed. My brother Gert Jan became John and my brother Ernst became Ernest. I Stayed Clarike but had so many cruel names made up about me.

    I think after all these years I may get something out of reading this book. 🙂 thanks for introducing it to us. 🙂

  2. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    I'm glad you like the book, but sorry you got made fun of! I wouldn't have thought Clarike would be that hard to say or that weird that kids would be mean about it – it's not that different from Clara… but you just never know with kids!

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