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The Name Jar

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  4,797 ratings  ·  922 reviews
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 classm
Paperback, 40 pages
Published October 14th 2003 by Dragonfly Books (first published 2001)
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Average rating 4.36  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,797 ratings  ·  922 reviews

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It must be so difficult to grow up in a culture not your own. This book is about a Korean family that moves to the US and this little girl is trying to figure out her name. On the bus to school boys tease her when they can’t pronounce her name and she is embarrassed. The teacher asks her name and she says she does not know. Unhei is different, but not that different. So, the students put names into a jar so she can pick a new name, but through the process she decides to keep her name which means ...more
Oct 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very cute and important story about a Korean girl loving her name!

As an Asian with a different/difficult name myself, this was way too relatable.
CH _Kenya  Walker
Jan 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mc-literature
The Name Jar, was a good story to share in the primary grades particularly at the beginning of the school year. It was about a girl whose family had just moved from Korea to America and she was attending her first day of school. Initially she was teased about her name by kids on the school bus and then became intimidated about sharing her name with her classmates. It also made her feel embarrassed about being different than the other kids. Unhei, learned that her classmates were a much more kind ...more
Feb 07, 2015 rated it did not like it
Second Book in the Text Set (second read-aloud)
Teacher: Good morning everyone! Let’s start today by taking a look at our culture map (simple but large world map hanging near reading circle). The main character in today’s story journey comes from Korea. Please stay seated, and with the help of just your eyes and your pair share pal, try to locate Korea on the map. When you think you have it, give me a thumbs up. On the count of three, let’s point our fingers in the direction of Korea. (I c
The first day of school is hard for anyone because of all its strangeness, but this picture book about a girl from Korea depicts how much harder it is for someone new to this country or whose name is different from the names of her classmates. When she introduces herself to the other children on the school bus, they make fun of her name, mispronouncing it and making jokes. Thus, Unhei decides not to reveal her name to her classmates; instead, she plans to adopt an American name from the jar of n ...more
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Names are important in all cultures but they take a particularly higher level of meaning for people who are immigrants from countries that make the racial minority pool of the US.
I loved how Unhei (Youn-Hye) eventually came to terms with the value of her name and by default her identity.
The story was written straight to the point without any flourishes or unnecessary explanations. You feel the way she gets hurt when other children couldn't be bothered to learn to pronounce her name and taking i
Stay Fetters
Moving to the United States from foreign land will always be frightening and terrifying. New customs and a new language, everything is so different. And that's exactly how Unhei felt on her first day of school. Completely embarrassed by her name that she told the other students that she didn't have a name.
Instead of bullying, they made a name jar for her, filled with slips of paper with new and exciting names.
In the end, stick with what you got. Don't let anyone change you, be who you are and
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
Cute children's book! I'm not sure where I saw this title, but I like to read children's books occasionally. The story is a good way to help children learn about other cultures. Neat illustrations, too. ...more
Karen Witzler
May 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Charming story of a newly arrived immigrant to the USA - a Korean girl - and her quest to fit in by choosing an American name. What name will Unhei choose?
Apr 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
1. Text-to-Self: This story reminded me a lot of when I went to college for my undergraduate degree and there was a large group of Hmong students from Minnesota who also came to attend our small liberal arts college. One of the students I came to know fairly well just asked us to call him "A" as in the letter. Just like in this story with Unhei wanting to choose a different, more American name because she thought her name was too hard to pronounce, A just settled on choosing something that he kn ...more
Evelyn Swanson
Aug 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love to read books that students can learn about cultural diversity, stories that will spark the reader's curiosity to ask questions about the real world. Also, books that teach about tolerance in the classroom and outside the classroom. So, when I read “The Name Jar” by Yangsook Choi, I thought, “what an awesome book to read aloud to my students on the first day of class!” As a teacher, this book gives me an opportunity to have conversations with my students about welcoming new students into ...more
Vanessa Maeda
Nov 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Main Characters: Unhei and little boy friend from school
Setting: American school
POV: 3rd Person

Unhei, a cute Korean girl, is the new kid in school. Even though coming to America is hard, it gets worse because when she enters an American school nobody can pronounce her name. Because she has just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious that all the American kids will like her. Rather than introducing herself on the first day of school and explaining the history/meaning behind her name, she tell
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
Assigned reading for MLIS 7421: Multicultural Youth Literature.

This was a super cute little story about Unhei's realization that, just because her name is different from the other kids in her class, does not mean that it is bad. She learns to appreciate the meaning of her name as well as the friends who are interested in learning about it, and her culture.
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I read this book aloud to my children of varying ages, and they all enjoyed it. Admittedly, we all struggled with pronouncing the character's Korean name. Deliberately, I'm sure, the pronunciation isn't provided until midway through the book. It's a pleasant story about belonging and identity and learning about the cultures. ...more
Noor Tareq
Its really a great book , Unhei is a sweet Korean girl moved to America , and she faced a really common problem for a foreigner , the name .
Her class mate cannot spell her name right , she thought she we be abandoned , and no one will like her , because she has a Korean name , so she wait and want to choose an American name , she forget that our names are our identities , and if any one didn't accept us with our name , our personality and our differences , then we dont want him/ her in our live
Jan 30, 2021 rated it liked it
Learning to embrace one’e heritage and place of origin, race, etc., and the significance behind Asian names is what this children’s book is all

I was more bowled over with the animation of the pages than the actual story. I was hunting for decisively Korean elements to the story. And Unhei (yoon ehh) ain’t enough for me!

Expected too much. But!! This story did make me pull out my two chops (the stamp that Unhei uses)... I love my tuzhang!! And almost forgot about them...

Glad I know about thi
Wari Singh
Jan 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
Awwww! This was such a cute, heartwarming story. Interesting how I always end up reading at least two similar storylines whenever I pick up East Asian books. I’m currently reading Girl in Translation and it focuses on the experiences of an eleven years old girl from Hong Kong who lands in US and how she deals with school. Similarly, The Name Jar dealt with a little Korean girl’s experience at an American school. Such a wholesome, feel-good story albeit a little too idealistic (which children’s s ...more
Jan 30, 2011 rated it did not like it
Although I know we are supposed to be posting examples of good multicultural literature, I felt it necessary to make a post on this book. The idea of a Korean girl coming to the United States and not liking how different her name sounds from all of her American classmates has some universality to it. I have encountered many bilingual/ ELL students who wanted to be called something else or an Americanized version of their names. However, I had some strong issues with this book, which definitely a ...more

This picture-book tells the story of a little girl whose language and cultural differences create a stir in her new school environment. Huenhi is a recent immigrant from Korea who is on her way to her first day in an American classroom. Even before she sets foot in her new class, Huenhi is greeted by curious children on their way to school who want to know who this unfamiliar face is. Once she introduces herself, however, they poke fun at her unfamiliar-sounding name! Children who stand out beca
Ch13_megan Carlisle
Jan 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi tells the story of Unhei who has just immigrated to America from Korea. She leaves behind her beloved grandmother who along with her mother, visited a name master and helped name her.On her bus ride to her new school Unhei is made fun of for her name. She decides to change her name and is given ideas from the whole class. As she makes new friends, Unhei must decide whether or not to keep or change her name.

Choi crafts a beautiful story that both universal and uniqu
Patricia Stephens
Oct 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews
This would be a great book to read to students at the beginning of the school year because it teaches the readers about always being yourself in new areas or new experiences. In this book, a girl from Korea, Unhei, moves to America and is given a wooden stick from her grandmother. When she goes off to her first day of school, she comes to realize that all of the American children are having trouble pronouncing her name because it is so different. She decides that she wants to have a second name, ...more
Sarah Donovan
Jun 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am reading a list of picture books this summer, looking for ones to include in my junior high classroom library.

What I am looking for in the text, with teen readers in mind, is some dialogue, sentence variety, topic-specific vocabulary, and an idea or issue that will prompt teen readers to do deeper inquiry into that idea. I'd like the idea to promote diversity, as in including diverse voices and perspectives with a historical, environmental, social, and even global context.

The artwork is als
Sharadha Jayaraman
The story is about Unhei (Yoon-hei, meaning grace in Korean), a Korean girl who has just immigrated to the United States with her family and how she adjusts to the schooling system there, makes friends, and finds kind people in a foreign land.

A short and impactful read, which teaches kids to accept their identities no matter how uncomfortable they are with it, starting with their unique and meaningful names. Credits to the beautiful and colourful picture illustrations throughout the book, which
Erica J
Jan 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Unhei, a young Korean girl, moves to America with her family and arrives at a new school. She is embarrassed to tell the new children her name because it is hard to pronounce. The students decide to help her and create a name jar so that she can chose an American name. After a little self refection, a visit to the local Korean market with Mr. Kim and a letter from her grandmother, Unhei decides to use her Korean name. She teaches the students how to correctly pronounce her name and what it means ...more
Tiffany Ng
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Name Jar tells a good story about how a girl feels different and wants to change herself to fit society. The main character Unhei thought her name was too different and wanted a name that was more American so she decided not to tell the class her name and told them to put names in a jar and she will pick a name by the end of the week. In the end she sticks with her own name because it meant something special and the other names that were put in the jar just did not fit her.
The class supporte
Dana Snyder
The Name Jar is a great book to use when talking to children about a new student coming to the class. It is a great way to open up students to the idea that people move to new places from all over the world. When they make those moves, they also bring a lot of the things from their culture with them such as different languages and their own traditions. Teachers can use this book to engage the students on eliciting ideas on how they can make new students feel welcome in their class. This book is ...more
Heather Hawes
I think this is a wonderful book for any new students who may be moving from another part of the world, or those who transfer during the school year. Names say a lot about who we are and I was delighted when she became prideful with her Korean name. I've personally known a girl who moved to the US from China and decided to Americanize her name, but I always liked to call her by her Chinese name because it was so beautiful. Hopefully this story would inspire all kids struggling with their cultura ...more
Apr 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a great book for reading on the first day of school and to show that students that every child is different. it can show students originality and how they should get to know somebody before they judge them.
Clare Cannon
Jul 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 04-8yrs
A Koren girl moves to America and wants to choose a new name because her new classmates can't pronounce her Korean one: Unhei. But when she tells them what it means and shows them how it is written, she decides to stick with the lovely name she has. ...more
This is a sweet story about connecting with your culture, even if you're not in the country you're originally from, and staying true to yourself. It's also a really lovely story about friendship.

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text to teaching - the name jar by Yangsook Choi 1 4 Jan 24, 2019 09:50AM  

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Yangsook Choi grew up in Korea. She started drawing at age 4 and loved telling her grandma scary stories. After moving to New York to pursue her art, she has written and illustrated many books for young readers. Her books have been acclaimed as "Best of the Best" by the Chicago Public Library, included on the American Library Association Notable Book list, selected by PBS Reading Rainbow, and have ...more

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