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The Name Jar

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  3,066 Ratings  ·  570 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 class
Paperback, 40 pages
Published October 14th 2003 by Dragonfly Books (first published 2001)
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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
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.
Tukunjil Nayeera
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Tukunjil by: Tisha
Shelves: korean-lit
রিডারস বলক কাটানোর জনয এসব ছোট ছোট মিষটি গলপের জুড়ি নেই! ...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
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
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
Stacy 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
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.
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
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
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
destiny ☠ howling libraries
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens, mlis, 2018
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.
A beautiful story about compassion, understanding, cultural differences, and appreciation for the name:gifts you’ve been given.
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
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
Oct 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The Name Jar by Jangsook Choi is a wonderful picture book about a girl named Unhei. Unhei is Korean and has just moved to the U.S. On the first day of school, someone makes fun of her name, so Unhei decides that she needs a name that is more American. One of her new friends gives her a jar, so that everyone in the class can put their name ideas in it. In the end, Unhei realizes that her name is special and is the best choice of all.

This very simple story conveys a theme that runs through many
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
Kennedy Wilmer
Apr 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wow-books
This book is very rich in culture. It is about a girl who simply doesn't enjoy her name because it is different from the other children. She brings in a jar to school and allows other children to help her pick out her new name. During the book she learns more about her name with the help of family and friends. Throughout this whole semester we have talked about how to incorporate culture within your classroom and this book does a nice job setting up that scene.
In my classroom I would specifical
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
Christian Jasso
Feb 21, 2013 rated it liked it
When I was told to read The Name Jar I thought it was going to be an interesting book. As it turns out it wasn't all that great. In fact I thought it was a little boring.

The book is about a Korean girl who moves to America. On her first day of school she told people her name but they had a hard time pronouncing it. She didn't like how the kids weren't able to pronounce her name she want to change it. But in the end she find out that her name meant something special and it was who she was. With t
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
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
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.
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.
Feb 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: differences
My kids thought this book was amazing! Many of them related to this book and gave different examples of times where others mispronounced their name.
Excellent first week of school book. Can't wait to talk about the importance of names.
Mrs Heidrich
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful story about culture and identity. Some people may not understand the struggles a child has that has a name that sounds "different". I have had many international students that have changed their names to more "Canadianized" ones and it makes me sad. I know they do it to try to "fit in" and they think they make it easier on those around them; however your name is an important part of who you are. It's wonderful that this story explores this and I hope it's a reminder for stude ...more
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