Saturday, May 2, 2015

dear juno
 By Soyung Pak
 Illustrated by Susan Kathleen Hartung     

Award: Ezra Jack Keats Book Award

dear juno is a tender story of a young (pre) writer communicating to his grandmother, who lives in Korea and who only speaks and writes Korean.  The young boy doesn’t read Korean.

Book Talk
At the beginning of the story, Juno has received a letter.  He uses all kinds wonderful clues from the way the envelope looks to know that it has come from his grandmother in Korea.  He tries to patiently wait for his parents to finish the dishes before he asks to read it to him.  Curiosity gets the most of him and he goes ahead and opens the letter—-which is written all in Korean hangul.  However, a picture of his grandmother is included as well as a pressed flower.

Juno finds his parents so that they can read the letter to him—-but he already knows some of Grandmother’s news!

Favorite lines from the book:
“Grandma has a new cat,” Juno said as he handed the letter to his mother. “And she is growing red and yellow flowers in her garden.”
“How do you know that she has a new cat?” Juno’s father asked.
“She wouldn’t send me a picture of a strange cat, “ said Juno.

Juno later decides to ‘write’ to Grandma.  He draws three big pictures of things happening in his life and sends her a big leaf from their oak tree.  Grandma sends back a big package with a toy airplane in it and Juno knows his grandmother is coming for a visit!

Another favorite line at the end of the story:
And when he dreamed that night, he dreamed about a faraway place, a village just outside of Seoul, where his grandmother, whose gray hair sat on top of her head like a powdered doughnut, was sipping her morning tea.”

Suggested Uses as a Mentor Text:
Book Genre: Realistic Fiction
Reading Workshop strategies: Inferring, Predicting, Connecting, 
Writing Workshop: Narrative Writing
Curricular Themes:  Beginning writer, Diversity/We Need Diverse Books,  intergenerational / family relationships
Suggested mentor use for these grade levels: PreK-Grade 2

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