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Book Review

Author: Angela Ahn ISBN: 9781772600636 Pages: 160 | Price: $11.95 Publisher: Second Story Press Age Range: 9 - 12 years Grade Level: 4 - 7 Connect with Angela: Twitter: @angelaahnbooks Instagram: @writeahn

Krista Kim Bap A fun middle grade novel about a Korean-Canadian fifth grader living in Vancouver. Written for middle school children, this book helps Korean-Canadian children understand their dual identities as Korean at home and Canadian at school. The main character, Krista is trying to figure out the three F’s: food, family and friends. Krista and Jason have been best friends since preschool. It never mattered that he was a boy with reddish-brown hair and she was the “Korean girl” at school. Now in fifth grade, everyone in their class is preparing their Heritage Month projects. Jason has always loved Krista’s Korean family, and particularly her mom’s cooking, but Krista is conflicted about being her school’s “Korean Ambassador.” She’s also worried about asking her intimidating grandma to teach the class how to make their traditional kim-bap. Combine that with her new friends pulling her away from Jason, and Krista has a lot to deal with this year. This book serves as one of many stories Asian Americans and Asian Canadians can relate to growing up between a traditional family environment and facing the world through school and/or work. It’s becoming a growing theme as more companies and organizations insist they are evolving into a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Perhaps starting at a young age might help give confidence to children growing up with double heritages or hyphenated cultures. It serves as a building block of how one can learn from cultural identities and become an educator to those wanting or trying to understand the diverse Asian cultures settling into North America. As an avid reader, I wish I had a book like this growing up. It would have helped me and others understand the internal conflicts of navigating between two cultures and trying to become a confident person between home and school. It is a quick read. Middle school readers will enjoy learning the struggles of a Korean Canadian. It’s also great to see more Asian books for all ages coming into the mainstream. Angela Ahn is a former high school English and social studies teacher. She worked in the Canadian public system as well as for two years in Hong Kong teaching English as a second language. She later went back to school to earn a Masters of Library and Information Studies from the University of British Columbia. Ahn worked in all types of libraries, but only discovered the joy of children’s literature when she had her own children. She has been at home with her family for the last 10 years in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Reviewed by: Mary Jeneverre Schultz Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @Jeneverre 26

March 2019 | Book Review

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Asian Avenue magazine - March 2019