Author and Illustrator: Yangsook Choi

Summary: What’s in a name? A lot, as it turns out. The new kid from Korea needs a new name – or does she? Should she keep her Korean name or change it to blend in?

WITS Connection: Talk it out!

WITS Lesson Plan (PDF)


There is an excellent video telling about this book at:

The author, Yangsook Choi, grew up in Korea and came to New York to go to university. She started drawing at age 4 and loved telling her grandma scary stories. She has written and illustrated many award-winning books for young readers. Do you know some? Yangsook Choi has her own website where you can see more of her beautiful drawings and find out about her other books.


  1. Can you find Korea on a world map, globe or Google Earth? How long would it take to fly from Korea to where you live?
  2. Do you know what kimchee is? It’s a spicy pickled cabbage dish that Korean people love. Have you ever tried it? Do you like spicy food? Do your parents?
  3. Were you nervous on your first day at school? How do you think you would feel on your first day at school in a new country? Draw a picture of your face showing how you might feel.
  4. Do you know how your parents chose your name? If not, ask when you get home tonight. Does your name mean something? If you could choose your own name, would you want to? What would it be?

You can look up meanings of names at


  1. What did Unhei’s grandmother give her before the family left Korea? Why was it important to both the grandmother and Unhei?
  2. Unhei was teased on the bus to school. Why do you think this happened? Is there more than one reason? How can you tell by the drawing that Unhei is feeling uncomfortable on the bus? If you noticed this in real life, what would you do?
  3. Has anyone ever had trouble pronouncing your name? Have you ever had trouble pronouncing someone else’s name? What should we do when this happens?
  4. The children in Unhei’s class are more kind than the kids on the bus. What do they do to help her feel welcome?
  5. Unhei’s mother says that being different is a good thing. Do you agree? Why or why not?


  1. Joey buys a wooden stamp with the word friend on it. Here is how to say “friend” in just a few of the world’s languages. Teach the students how to pronounce the words, and then divide them into “nations”. When you name the language, have the students representing that country call out the word for friend.
    Korean친구 (chingu) 
    Arabicصديق (sadiq)

    Do any of your students know how to say friend in other languages? Let them add to the list!

    1. Hello to all the Children of the World is a wonderful song to teach children about other countries and languages. The original song is beautifully done here:

    Be inspired! Your class could do just as well as these children! See Hello to all the Children of the World with actions!

    You’ll find the lyrics here:


    3. Read another WITS book about children from other countries. Whoever You Are, By Mem Fox. This story celebrates those external and internal qualities that make us different and the same. This is seen through the book’s vivid illustrations of children all over the world who exhibit different customs, languages, food, homes and schools. The story reaffirms the idea that even though we may appear different we share a common bond of joy and pain. see