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4.07  ·  Rating details ·  1,366 ratings  ·  164 reviews
The charming, acclaimed book about a cat who is teased for the food she brings for school lunch—and that launched the beloved series about Yoko—is about accepting and embracing our differences.

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 eve
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published 1998 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,366 ratings  ·  164 reviews

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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
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Ending was too predictable. So I talked for the last half of it.” -Adelaide (6 months old)
Sep 02, 2008 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
Mary Ann
Yoko brings sushi, seaweed and red bean ice cream to school for lunch, but her classmates’ teasing makes her very sad. Luckily, she discovers a new friend in Timothy, as they end up sharing lunch treats and creating their own restaurant. A favorite story that helps kids look at acceptance and friendship.
Penny Igarashi
Jul 11, 2015 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. ...more
Allie L.
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jessica Campbell
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This picture book, Yoko by Rosemary Wells, illustrates how a child can be teased in school by their peers because of cultural diversity. The story follows a kitten named Yoko who is super excited when her mother packs her favorite lunch, sushi, for lunch that day. But when she gets to school, her peers do not think that that lunch looks so yummy, and they make fun of it. This story can help teach kids empathy and understanding of differences. Students can also discuss with the teachers food eate ...more
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Yoko has played an integral role in my life as a second-generation Japanese-American. When I was in elementary school, I would check this book out from the library over and over again because it made me feel less alone. I grew up isolated from people who shared my ethnicity, and I always felt a little different from everyone else in my community. Like Yoko, other children made fun of my lunches and aspects of my Japanese heritage. This book taught me that I was not alone and that there would be ...more
Patience Adella
Feb 06, 2020 rated it did not like it
Yoko brings sushi for lunch. The other kids bully her about her food and the teacher DOESN'T NOTICE. When Yoko is too sad to go out to play, the teacher decides to address the issue by having an international foods potluck and everybody has to try a bite of everything. Except she DOESN'T ENFORCE that everybody brings something from a different country nor that everybody tries a bite. All the kids are allowed to go out to play and nobody tried Yoko's sushi.

The moral of the story? You can't trust
Macy Williams
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-1-20
Yoko goes to a multicultural school that is celebrating food from each student`s culture. Students bring fruits, meats, and drinks. Yoko decides to bring sushi. The other students make fun of food from her culture- saying things like, "Ick! It`s seaweed!" or "Yuck-o-rama!" It made me think of when I was younger and another student made fun of my lunch. Throughout the book students are trying new things and discovering things that they like. I love the book though because it reminds readers to tr ...more
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book to read about acceptance in a classroom and accepting someone for who they are, no matter their background or what they have
Kids make fun of Yoko for what she eats even though it is culturally appropriate to her
Good to talk about cultural appropriation and what different cultures eat (lesson)
This is also a great multicultural book to read to students so they can get to know about different Chinese cultures
Luis Moreno
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I will always remember this book. As a teacher working in an international school I know the power it can have when talking about cultural and gastronomic diversity, open mindedness, inclusion and much more. Also my boyfriend read it for me at the National American History Museum in Washington DC. :)
Yoko struggles at school when the other kids think her sushi lunch is strange. The adults help give the kids a chance to bring in foods from their various cultures. It sounds like a not-so-subtle message about accepting differences but it is done in a realistic and sweet way. The cute kitty helps sell it for sure.
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oh, I haven't read this book in a long while, but I do remember enjoying it!I'm thinking first generation children will relate to this story! I certainly could. Rosemary Wells writes such wonderful tales and love the illustrations! So bold and bright! ...more
Donna Mork
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
All the kids make fun of Yoko's lunch. Teacher decides to have everyone bring in samples from other countries. No one tries her snacks. Then one boy does. He loves it. They decide to open a restaurant together. ...more
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was my favorite book as a child. I remember I used to make my mom point to all the characters when the book spoke about what everyone brought. I love reading it to children, and doing the same thing with them.
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Yoko is a kitten in very early school years. Is picked on for her "weird" traditional Japanese food. Teacher has all animal "children" bring in their own cultural food to share and Yoko discovers a new friend. Adorable illustrations (of course; it's Rosemary Wells) and a sweet story. ...more
Jo Oehrlein
Jan 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This book is 20 years old and I think didn't age well in the specifics. I'm not sure most kids would be so grossed out by sushi now.

Also, where is this school located that someone brings Boston Baked Beans for International Day?
Miss Sarah
Yoko is having her favorite ethnic foods for lunch but the other kids aren't being so nice about it. Cute solution on the teachers part but would have liked more people to try her food. Preschool and up ...more
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
This one is so small and easy to read that I don't even want to count this as one of the books for this year.

Must read if you are a parent striving to show diversity to your child.
A nice, predictable story about being accepted when you're different. Wells gives her critters great facial expressions. ...more
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: august-2017, kindle
A story of a cat proficient with chopsticks, who wears Japanese-inspired clothing. What's not to love? ...more
Elyssa DeAngulo
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
In this story, several different nationalities are represented. This story teaches kids you need to try something before you dismiss it as bad. True friends will accept you for who you are.
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Eduardo Bello
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great book to start conversations about cultural differences. You go Yoko!
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books as a child! ♥
Morlando K
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-books-2
a story about trying different foods
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-book
I saw this book at the library and I had to pick it up! This used to be me and my siblings favorite book. Ah~ The memories!!
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wells really explores the small indignities felt by children every day - especially over something that seems so simple, lunch!
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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

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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