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Yoko (Yoko)

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  995 Ratings  ·  124 Reviews
Mmm, Yoko's mom has packed her favorite for lunch today-sushi! But her classmates don't think it looks quite so yummy. "Ick!" says one of the Franks. "It's seaweed!" They're not even impressed by her red bean ice cream dessert. Of course, Mrs. Jenkins has a plan that might solve Yoko's problem. But will it work with the other children in class? Now in paperback for the fir ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published 1998 by Disney-Hyperion
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I like the honest way Yoko depicts what it can feel like to be a child told you are weird or strange or unliked. To be outcast – for any reason – is hurtful, and children understand that experience, often very personally. (Though understanding what it feels like to be left out and understanding that you are excluding others are two different developmental abilities.) I also appreciate that despite the support of Yoko’s teacher and parents, she is still bearing the brunt of peer abuse and rejec ...more
This is definitely a book to keep in the room, be it a classroom or a child's personal library.
Yoko, a sweet little cherryblossom of a kitten, is being made fun of in school because of her sushi lunches. In our class, we talked about having unique tastes because of your cultural heritage, and how we would feel if someone said "yucko!" to our favorite food. We also discussed good language to use when trying something new for the first time and not liking it, what to do when someone's feelings ar
Penny Igarashi
Jul 11, 2015 Penny Igarashi rated it it was amazing
I read Yoko to my Kindergarten students every year. It is a wonderful way to begin discussion of cultural differences in the food people eat. I am excited when they put themselves in Yoko's place. Empathy is a value I very much hope to encourage in my students. Yoko is a popular teachers' resource.
Dec 08, 2016 Samantha rated it it was amazing
This book addresses the struggles of a multicultural classroom, what students bring for lunch and what they eat at home! Little Yoko was made fun of for bringing sushi in for lunch, in response the teacher asked all students to bring in a multicultural dish for everyone to try! This book not only teaches about the traditional cuisine of Japanese cultural but dishes from many different cultures. This is a great multicultural book for students to learn about diversity, cultures, and acceptance.
Natalie Hoist
Dec 06, 2016 Natalie Hoist rated it liked it
This book would be good for teaching diversity in the classroom. It is a cute story about accepting different cultures, told in a way for kids to understand. I would recommend this book for a 2nd or 3rd grade classroom.
Jenna Snyder
Title: Yoko
Author: Rosemary Wells
Illustrator: Rosemary Wells
Genre: Picture Book
Theme(s): acceptance, friendship, culture
Opening line/sentence: “What would you like for lunch today, my little cherry blossom?” asked Yoko’s mother.
Brief Book Summary: Yoko is a Japanese cat who gets made fun of by her classmates because she brings sushi to school, a food that her classmates find repulsive. Yoko is upset that her classmates disapprove of her lunch, and so her teacher decides to plan an Internatio
Sep 03, 2008 Matt rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one. Don't drink the kool-aid, even in small doses.
Shelves: childrens
For reasons I can't entirely put my finger on, I'm not a big fan of Rosemary Wells. The closest I can get to it is to say that I think she speaks downward to the child reader a bit too much, but perhaps I would feel otherwise were I a three year old. Certainly my three year olds enjoy Wells more than I do, but on the other hand they just love to read and enjoy most anything with words and pictures.

But in the case of 'Yoko', there is more to my distaste than that.

'Yoko' is a simple story of a ch
Kelly Risinger
Kids turn nose up to sushi and make fun of new student from Japan.
Sep 23, 2016 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
The kids at school make fun of Yoko's lunch because it's sushi and they think sushi is weird. This school clearly was not in California.
John Matsuura
Mar 26, 2013 John Matsuura rated it it was amazing
This book was a feel good story that teaches children of different cultures and going outside the box to try new things they are not accustom to. All the characters in this book were animals that represented different cultures. Yoko, the main character of this book, brought in sushi and other Japanese cuisine for lunch one day at school. The other children were surprised by the things Yoko was eating as everything in her lunchbox they had not seen before. The other children began to make fun of ...more
Emily Stueven
Jan 26, 2013 Emily Stueven rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
There can never be too many children's books (or adult books, for that matter) about celebrating diversity. Here's a pretty good one to add to the list.

Yoko's family is Japanese, and her favorite food is sushi. During lunch at school one day, while the other kids eat very American sandwiches with condiments like "squeeze cheese," Yoko enjoys some homemade sushi with cucumber, seaweed, shrimp, and tuna (I'm hungry just writing this). In my mind, this should make her the most popular girl in the
Jack Kirby and the X-man
This is a lovely story, particularly for any child who is perceived as different.

Yoko is the daughter of Japanese immigrants to the US. The cultural differences between her and her classmates leave her feeling ostracised. Rosemary Wells picks up on a common from immigrant kids - the food they bring to school highlights that they are different. The use of food in this book is really symbolic of the wider cultural differences between immigrants and their new home.

Mrs Jenkins, their teacher, is a s
Sep 06, 2016 ••Bree•• rated it it was amazing
I totally adored this book! It was easily one of the cutest things I've ever read! I loved that everyone was animals! The illustrations were so well done! I loved reading a book about food. (Warning: If your hungry don't read it. It will only make it worse.) Excepting each others cultural differences makes us better people! Thank you for making such a warm fuzzy book. May we all be better because of it.
Jennifer Varnadore
Mar 26, 2015 Jennifer Varnadore rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Children
Recommended to Jennifer by: Saya Roberson
I thought this was a very adorable, as well as educational book. It dealt with children who bullied a girl about her lunch, because it was so different. They teased her and avoided her food when the teacher tried to do an international food day, and told the kids they had to taste everything. In the end, however, one of the boys in class tried the food and thought it was wonderful, and all ended well.

It dealt with the teacher trying to offer a real solution to the problem, and trying to get the
Feb 09, 2014 Savannah rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
I like how when Yoko felt different about her sushi lunch at school her teacher tried to help. Mrs. Jenkins wrote a letter to all the parents saying that it will be International Food Day and to bring in a dish from a foreign country. Additionally everyone had to try a bite of everything. The dishes that were bought in were enchiladas, Caribbean coconut crisps, Nigerian nut soup, Brazil nuts, Irish stew, potato knishes, mango smoothies, spaghetti and Boston franks and beans. Everyone tried every ...more
Dec 11, 2007 Deidra rated it really liked it
Shelves: final-project
Written and illustrated by Rosemary Wells, published by Hyperion, copyright 1998.

Grades: 1-3

During lunchtime at school, Yoko brings out her homemade package. The only problem is that her mom made her sushi for lunch! Not a very "cool" thing to bring to school. All the other kids make fun of her lunch, what is she to do? Then Yoko's wise teacher plans an international food day at school, and finally the other kids are able to experience some of Yoko's life. She ends up making new friends and even
Amy Forrester
Feb 17, 2012 Amy Forrester rated it it was amazing
Yoko’s mother has packed her favorite lunch, sushi. Yoko can’t wait to eat it, but at lunch all the other kids pull out sandwiches and make fun of Yoko, “Ick! It’s green! It’s seaweed!” The teacher, Mrs. Jenkins is concerned and decides to hold International Food Day. She sends a note home asking the children to bring in a dish from a foreign country, “Everyone must try a bite of everything!”

The book is illustrated in Wells’ signature style (you might be familiar with her immensely popular Max
May 31, 2015 Fanny rated it liked it
Shelves: mc-lit
It's an entertaining book, that tries to teach empathy to those who are different from us, by narrating the story of a Japanese cat named Yoko, whose customs and food look bizarre to her kindergarten classmates. The story develops around Yoko's sushi that her mom made her for lunch, and that her classmates thought was disgusting hurting Yoko's feelings. Yoko's teacher plans a "International Food Day" in an attempt to show the class that food from other countries can be tasty and it is okay to tr ...more
Jun 18, 2012 Amy rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens, reviewed
This was a nice little book about diversity, tolerance, expanding one's horizons, and even, I guess, about bullying. My niece likes this book quite well (she's apparently read it before), and my nephew seemed to appreciate it, too. Was it a remarkably impactful book? Meh. Probably not all that much, but it wasn't pointless, either. Rosemary Wells just has a way of bringing kids' experiences of the world around them to life in her books. When my niece, nephew, and I read Rosemary Wells' books, th ...more
L11-Mary Utterback
Feb 02, 2010 L11-Mary Utterback rated it really liked it
Shelves: asain-american
This book reminded me of being in elementary school and being teaesed because I had 2 different ears. I also, hated eating in fron of my classmates. I never ate anything weird I was just always paranoid about having food in my braces oir something.

Yoko is different because she eats traditional foods from her heritage like sushi. "Ewwww," say all her classmates. They have more traditional food like peanut butter and honey. After realizing that yoko is being teased her teacher decides to have an
Hye Eun
Apr 09, 2011 Hye Eun rated it it was amazing
This book portrays how immigrant students might feel left out in schools due to their different customs. Yoko brought Sushi for lunch but the other kids made fun of her for having a very different food. Yoko feels really bad so the teacher decides to have an international food day. Kids brought all kinds of different foods but no one tried Yoko's sushi. However, at the end one kid tries the sushi and falls in love with it. This book would be great for teaching about different cultures. I think i ...more
Nov 10, 2014 RC rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bullying
Yoko is another beautiful book from Rosemary Wells. It follows the cat Yoko as she struggles with cultural difference and bullying at school. Yoko brings sushi to school for lunch and stands out among her classmates. She is laughed at and feels hurt. Her teachers tries to solve this by having international food day, where Yoko again feels left out. However, in the end Yoko connects with one of her classmates and they both try each others international dishes. They then open a "restaurant" and sh ...more
Aug 30, 2010 Modboy rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Boys and girls 3-8.
Recommended to Modboy by: Brooklyn Library
Lovely story about Yoko, a Japanese cat, who brings her native sushi to school. The other (anthropomorphic) kids tease her and call her food yukky. The teacher, seeing this, comes up with a brilliant idea...

Teaches tolerance and also brings home the moral from "Green Eggs and Ham", basically: don't knock it until you try it. Also teaches that one should be proud of his/her heritage. There are also some interesting foods that children can discuss and possibly be curious enough to try for themselv
Matthew Salazar
Sep 13, 2011 Matthew Salazar rated it really liked it
This book has a moral to the story. And that moral is not to judge a book by its cover. In this story Yoko is a cat that enjoys sushi. But in her classroom the other animals don't like sushi because they never had it. Throughout the book Yoko is made fun and even called names because she enjoys sushi. Then one day a raccoon in her class decides to try the sushi and after that he enjoys it. So everyday after Yoko and Timothy sat together and enjoyed sharing food. I think this book can teach kids ...more
Bridget R. Wilson
Jun 08, 2010 Bridget R. Wilson rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books, food
Yoko is Japanese. The kids in her class make fun of the sushi she brings for lunch. Through an ingenious plot by her teacher, the kids have to try various foods before making judgments. Yoko doesn't get teased anymore and makes a new friend.

What I thought: I love the message of this book--don't judge people just because they're different. I like that acceptance in the book is conditional. I think this is the way kids work. They have have to know that [blank:] isn't weird before they accept it. T
Brenna Call
Sep 02, 2010 Brenna Call rated it it was ok
Yoko takes her favorite lunch, sushi, to school but all of her classmates make fun of her. The teacher decides that the next day everyone is the class will bring in an international dish to share so that they can see that different things are ok, but only one student eats Yoko’s sushi, and although this made Yoko feel better I found it kind of sad. I wanted all of the students to eat and enjoy the sushi and feel remorseful for making fun of Yoko. Also, the ending felt abrupt. I really wanted to ...more
Aug 25, 2012 Isabel rated it it was amazing
PB 2. This book was beautiful. The pictures were enchanting and it give a great message about diversity. Also, I am a huge fan of animals as characters. I feel like a lot of children relate to them really well, sometimes even better than human characters. I had a teacher read this to me in elementary school in preparation for an international food day, and I still remember Yoko. Today, as I am studying to be a teacher, I will definitely be keeping this one on my list of books to read to future c ...more
I like Rosemary Wells. I've met her! But I like her books, too. (Something about growing up with "Noisy Nora" I guess.) This is one I've heard much of, but never got around to reading it. And it's really cute. I have a different understanding of it now as I eat some of this food more than I ever have before in my life. Plus, I've always been a supporter of trying foods before pronouncing an opinion on them.

By the way, in the spirit of internationalism (even though this book has more of a Japanes
Lauren Stoolfire
Mar 12, 2013 Lauren Stoolfire rated it really liked it
This heartwarming tale celebrates diversity and is all about being brave enough to try new things. In this case, Yoko takes sushi to school for lunch but everyone makes fun of her favorite food because it is different from everything else. The teacher tries to assist her by having everyone bring in a foreign dish and then trying a little of everything. Only one classmate tries her sushi and he realizes that he really likes it, so they begin sharing lunches the next day. I would love to see a foo ...more
Oct 24, 2012 Peacegal rated it it was ok
Simple story about a Japanese kitten whose classmates don't understand her "unusual" lunch choices. This might be a good book to share with a child who eats differently than his/her classmates, as well as his/her entire classroom.

Veg*n parents note: While this would be a nice story to share with a vegetarian child who has omnivorous classmates, the foods Yoko and many of her classmates eat is not veg*n. Yoko dines on seafood sushi throughout the story.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Rosemary Wells is the author of a number of popular children's books, most notably the Max and Ruby series which follows the everyday adventures of sibling bunnies - curious three year old Max and bossy seven year old Ruby. She gets the inspiration for Max and Ruby from her two daughters and the experiences they
More about Rosemary Wells...

Other Books in the Series

Yoko (7 books)
  • Yoko's Paper Cranes
  • Yoko Writes Her Name
  • Yoko's Show-and-Tell
  • Yoko Learns to Read
  • Yoko Finds Her Way
  • Yoko's World of Kindness: Golden Rules for a Happy Classroom

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