Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Review from SLC

**Reviews from School Library Connection, Aug/Sept 2016 Issue**


Watts, Jeri

A Piece of Home

Illustrated by Hyewon Yum. 2016. 32pp. $16.99 hc. Candlewick Press. 9780763669713. Grades 1-3

Hee Jun leads a very ordinary life in Korea—He goes to school, plays with friends, and enjoys life with his parents, sister, and grandmother. One day his father comes home and announces that they are moving to West Virginia. In his new home, life is far from ordinary for Hee Jun and his family. His normally active grandmother becomes dull and listless. His sister bites, kicks, and spits at her teacher. Hee Jun doesn’t feel like he fits in. Eventually he finds a new friend in Steve and things take a turn for the better. The soft colorful pictures connect beautifully to the emotions and relationships of the characters. This story is a great jumping-off point for discussions around tolerance, differences, and being the new kid in school. Steven Hadge, Library Media Specialist, Robertson Elementary School, Manchester, Connecticut


Thursday, June 30, 2016

BCCB reviews-

A Piece of Home; 

Hee Jun and his family move from Korea to West Virginia, and the adjustment is difficult. His new world is uncomfortably different, particularly the language: “My new classmates smile and talk, but it is a sharp noise. Their names sit like stones on my tongue.” When his little sister, Se Ra, pitches a fit at school, Hee Jun’s grand- mother begins accompanying her to smooth the transition. As the months pass, all three—Grandmother, Se Ra, and Hee Jun—slowly learn to be comfortable in their new environment and by the end of his first year, Hee Jun happily realizes that his new life in America has finally become “ordinary.” Watts presents an emotionally credible account of what life can be like for newcomers to a place and sensitively portrays Hee Jun’s experiences. There’s no single breakthrough moment for him but rather a series of small revelations that play out over a long time. Yum’s tidy watercolor illustrations feature her usual rosy-cheeked figures, and the art skill- fully conveys emotion, increasing the amount of background detail and using an ever-livelier palette as Hee Jun gradually settles into American life. Use possibilities abound for this thoughtful and thought-provoking title. JH

Monday, June 20, 2016

A Piece of Home in the New York Times Book Review

A Piece of Home
Little is as earthshaking as the experience of starting over in not just a new house, but a new country. Hee Jun’s family moves from Korea to West Virginia for his father’s job. He can’t stand being so different from his classmates. English words “feel like stones, heavy in my mouth.” But gradually the strange becomes familiar, and a new friend’s kindness eases his homesickness. Watts’s elegant story and Yum’s soft, radiant art combine to make the book wrenching, hopeful and lovely in equal measure.