Halmoni and the Picnic

Halmoni and the Picnic

by Sook Nyul Choi, Karen Dugan

When Yunmi's class plans a picnic in Central Park, her Korean grandmother, Halmoni, agrees to chaperone. But Yunmi worries that the other children will make fun of Halmoni's traditional Korean dress and unfamiliar food.


When Yunmi's class plans a picnic in Central Park, her Korean grandmother, Halmoni, agrees to chaperone. But Yunmi worries that the other children will make fun of Halmoni's traditional Korean dress and unfamiliar food.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A sensitive exploration of difficulties facing immigrants." Kirkus Reviews

Library Media Connection

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In her first picture book, Choi ( The Year of Impossible Goodbyes ) tackles the sensitive topic of an immigrant's adjustment to life in the United States. Yunmi's grandmother Halmoni has just moved to New York City from Korea and she's having a tough time getting acclimated. She doesn't speak much English, she doesn't understand the customs and she misses her homeland and her friends. In an effort to reach out to the old woman, Yunmi's friends ask Halmoni to chaperone the class picnic in Central Park. Yunmi is both excited and scared at the prospect--maybe the other kids will make fun of Halmoni's clothes and the traditional kimbap (rice/vegetable rolls) that she insists on bringing to the outing. But the children turn out to be fine ambassadors, and Halmoni feels pleased and welcome. Choi's text, sentimental but never saccharine, captures a jumble of emotions, both Halmoni's and Yunmi's. Both must find a common ground where pride, love and tolerance can coexist. With a light hand Choi delivers a happy ending. Dugan's serviceable pencil and watercolor illustrations are warm in spirit and accurate in their detail, as in depictions of Halmoni's dress. Bright Korean-inspired borders framing each painting provide an authentic flavor. This gentle intergenerational book should appeal on many levels, and will be especially appreciated by those seeking contemporary Asian American fare. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
Adjustment to a new country is hardest for the elders. When Sunmi's grandmother arrives from Korea, she is uncomfortable with American manners and embarrassed by her own accent. Sunmi and her friends find a way to make Halmoni part of their lives and in the process they learn more about Korean traditions and food. Lovely watercolor paintings complement the mood of the story.
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Yunmi, a young Korean-American girl, sees her grandmother's loneliness in a country she does not understand. Yunmi's friends intuitively care for this gentle woman, insisting that she chaperone a trip to Central Park. Yunmi fears her grandmother's discomfort, lack of language, and the strangeness of her grandmother's tray of Korean picnic treats. But all comes out well and the cultural crossing within this extended family ends in a charming jump rope chant that children will remember.
Ilene Cooper
Yunmi's grandmother Halmoni has recently arrived in New York from Korea, and her adjustment isn't easy. She doesn't want to speak English, especially around Yunmi's friends, though she endears herself to them by bringing them fruit. Yunmi is worried her grandmother won't ever get into the swing of things, so when her class needs a chaperone for a picnic, she volunteers Halmoni. Yunmi almost regrets her invitation when Halmoni insists on bringing "kimbap", a sushi-looking dish made of rice, carrots, eggs, and green vegetables wrapped in seaweed. But the food is a hit, and so is Halmoni, who tries out her English for the first time with the kids in Yunmi's class. Nothing unexpected happens here; in fact, this is a story that's probably been told as long as there have been immigrant grandmothers. But it is pleasing nonetheless, thanks to the lovely bordered watercolor art and the subtle text, both of which display a fine sensitivity. A good jumping-off place for discussion about cultures and/or generations.

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
7.25(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.35(d)
640L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

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