Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Yoon and the Jade Bracelet

Recorvits, Helen. 2008. YOON AND THE JADE BRACELET. Ill. by Gabi Swiatkowska. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. ISBN 9780374386894 [Suggested Grade Levels K-3]

Yoon, a recent Korean immigrant, wants a jump rope for her birthday so that she can sing and jump with the other girls. Unfortunately her mother does not know of her wish and gives her a Korean story book and a jade bracelet that belonged to her grandmother when she was Yoon’s age. The book is a Korean folk tale about a girl and a tiger and foreshadows the events that follow. Yoon wears her bracelet to school the next day and an older girl invites her to jump rope with her and to be her friend. Yoon only gets to turn the rope, but the older girl strings her along and also asks to wear her bracelet just for this day. She does not return it. Although the action is predictable for adults, kids are mesmerized by the older girl’s manipulations and by Yoon’s conflicting emotions.

Swiatkowska’s impressionistic paintings lend a clear emotional element to Yoon’s story. The expressions on the characters’ faces are beautifully rendered by her vivid close-ups. There is little distinction between her characters and her textured backgrounds, resulting in an almost dreamlike quality which juxtaposes the reality of Yoon’s situation.

Invite children to share times when they have been manipulated by an older child. How have they been able to resolve their problems? Have they ever felt like an outsider? What can they do to help children feel more accepted?

Other books written by Helen Recorvits:
MY NAME IS YOON. ISBN 978037451144

By Cay Geisler

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