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The Name Jar



Last updated Thursday, May 1, 2008

Author: Yangsook Choi
Date of Publication: 2001
ISBN: 037580613X
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: May 2008

Synopsis: The new kid in school needs a new name! Or does she? From amazon.com: 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 won't 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 classmates are fascinated by this no-name girl and decide to help out by filling a glass jar with names for her to pick from. But while Unhei practices being a Suzy, Laura, or Amanda, one of her classmates comes to her neighborhood and discovers her real name and its special meaning. On the day of her name choosing, the name jar has mysteriously disappeared. Encouraged by her new friends, Unhei chooses her own Korean name and helps everyone pronounce it—Yoon-Hey.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What is your name?
•  Do you have a nickname?
•  How did you get your name or nickname?
•  Does your name mean anything in another language or did it belong to someone else in your family?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Were you born in Los Angeles? Where else have you lived?
•  Do you know any Koreans or other kids with different names?
•  Do you try to pronounce their names correctly?
•  Have you ever made fun of someone’s name or language?
•  Have you ever wanted a new name? What is it? Why do you want a new name?
•  Have you ever named someone or something? (A pet, stuffed animal, etc)

Craft ideas:
•  Make your own symbol/picture of your name. Use designs and pictures that describe and represent you.
•  Make your own name purse/jar. Fold a piece of construction paper in half and cut out a shape. Glue the sides, leaving the top open to put pieces of paper inside. Write the names you like on pieces of paper and put them inside your purse/jar.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!