The Name Jar

( 2 )


The new kid in school needs a new name! Or does she?

Being the new kid in school is hard enough, but what about when nobody can pronounce your name? Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious that American kids will like her. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she tells the class that she will choose a name by the following week. Her new classmates are fascinated by this no-name girl and decide to help out by filling a glass jar with names for her ...

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The new kid in school needs a new name! Or does she?

Being the new kid in school is hard enough, but what about when nobody can pronounce your name? Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious that American kids will like her. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she tells the class that she will choose a name by the following week. Her new classmates are fascinated by this no-name girl and decide to help out by filling a glass jar with names for her to pick from. But while Unhei practices being a Suzy, Laura, or Amanda, one of her classmates comes to her neighborhood and discovers her real name and its special meaning. On the day of her name choosing, the name jar has mysteriously disappeared. Encouraged by her new friends, Unhei chooses her own Korean name and helps everyone pronounce it—Yoon-Hey.

After Unhei moves from Korea to the United States, her new classmates help her decide what her name should be.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Unhee is the new girl in school. She and her family have just arrived and she feels scared and alone. Unhee can speak English very well, but she is worried her classmates will not be able to pronounce her name. Unhee decides she must choose a new American name for herself, much to her parents' dismay. Unhee's Korean grandma has given Unhee her name stamp. Her classmates think this is a wonderful possession and they envy her. Unhee discovers that the symbol on her stamp means grace. Unhee also discovers what her new name will be. Her classmates and neighbors know Unhee is looking for a new name and make many suggestions, placing their ideas in a name jar. Unhee faces her classmates and tells them she loves the names they have selected for her, but her decision has been made. Choi's beautiful art enhances her depth of the characters and adds warmness to this problem faced by so many children¾that of fitting in and being accepted. 2001, Alfred A. Knopf, $18.99 and $16.95. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer:Sue Reichard
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-On the way to her first day of school, Unhei is teased by the children on the bus for her Korean name. When she reaches her classroom and is asked her name, she tells her classmates that she has not yet decided on one. To be helpful the children put their suggestions into a "name jar." Eventually the girl decides to keep her own name as one of her classmates takes pride in the new Korean nickname he has chosen, Chinku, meaning "friend." The round, red imprint of the Korean character for Unhei's name provides the graphic manifestation of the story's theme. Attractive golden endpapers feature random repetitions of the stamp imprint interspersed with her classmates' handwritten suggestions on scraps of torn paper. The bold, bright paintings that illustrate the story are realistic, warm, and appealing. Unfortunately, the text sags under the weight of its mission to describe how it might feel to immigrate. A well-meaning and visually attractive effort, but uninspired.-Dorian Chong, School of Library and Information Science, San Jose State University, CA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440417996
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 10/14/2003
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 42,975
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.16 (d)

Meet the Author

Yangsook Choi grew up in Seoul, Korea. She has written and illustrated several books for young readers, including The Sun Girl and the Moon Boy and Good-bye, 382 Shin Dang Dong by Frances Park and Ginger Park. The first book she illustrated, Nim and the War Effort by Milly Lee, was an ALA Notable Book and an IRA–CBC Children’s Book Award Winner.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2008

    Inspiring Story

    The Name Jar, Yangsook Choi, 2003 In The Name Jar, Choi delivers a beautiful story about one of the many challenges moving to a new culture brings. Unhei, who has just moved from Korea to the United States, is teased about her unusual name on the bus on her way to her first day of school. Discouraged, when her teacher asks Unhei what her name is, she states that she hasn¿t chosen one yet. In an effort to help Unhei choose a name, her class creates a ¿name jar¿ into which they put their suggestions. With the help of a beautiful name stamp from her Korean grandmother, the reassurance from her family, and her new friend, Joey, Unhei finally decides to keep her Korean name, which means grace. Choi¿s beautiful illustrations are done in bold earth tones and do a wonderful job of flowing with the story. Yangsook Choi grew up in Korea and moved to New York to study art. Publishers Weekly selected her as one of the most prominent new children¿s book artists. She has written many children's books such as Behind the Mask and Peach Heaven as well as illustrated books such as This Next New Year by Janet Wong. Many of her books have received several awards, including the International Reading Association's Children's Book Award, a California Young Reader Medal and the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award. While this is a picture book, it is a story that can touch the heart at any age. Choi helps to deliver an inspiring tale of finding one¿s self in a new culture.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2008

    The Name Jar Book Review

    Book Review: The Name Jar¿By Yangsook Choi '2003' Yangsook Choi has written and illustrated many children's books including The Sun Boy and the Moon Girl, New Cat, and The Next New Year. Choi¿s most recent work, The Name Jar, is a compelling story about a child coming from a different country and going to a new school. Unhei is from Korea and is very anxious to start at her new school in the United States. Unhei becomes worried when none of the children on the bus can pronounce her name. She becomes embarrassed when children in the classroom ask her what her name is, so she tells everyone that she hasn¿t chosen a name yet. Unhei¿s classmates decide to help her out by writing name suggestions and placing them in a jar. Unhei doesn¿t know what name to choose. She finally decides that she likes her name 'which means grace' best of all and teaches the class about her name and how to pronounce it. Unhei¿s best friend, Joey, truly shows great friendship throughout the story by accepting Unhei¿s name and wanting a Korean name for himself. This story is very moving. Unhei¿s strength and courage at the end of this story are very inspirational. Choi includes several of her own experiences in this story of how she probably felt when she moved from Korea to the United States. This is a book that every child should experience because it helps children develop a sense of self and friendship.

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