A Name Is a Gift to Be Treasured
author: Helena Ku Rhee
illustrators: Ji-Hyuk Kim; Stella Lim
“Sora means ‘seashell’ in Korean,” her mother said. “Halmoni always said finding a perfect shell is like receiving a wonderful gift. That’s why she suggested we name you Sora.”
Every summer, when Sora’s Halmoni, or grandmother, visits from South Korea, the two of them take the bus to the beach to search for seashells. While Sora likes to take all of them back with her, Halmoni always leaves the prettiest shell for someone else to find and treasure. As summer turns to fall, Halmoni returns home and Sora starts kindergarten, where some of the kids tease her about her “weird” name. One day, Sora’s parents receive a sad call about her grandmother, and Sora feels more lost than ever about who she is and how she fits in. But when her parents reveal the origin of her name, Sora channels a newfound pride and, inspired by Halmoni, combats her peers’ hurtful comments by sharing her shells with everyone in her class. This story, told by Helena Ku Rhee and illustrated by Stella Lim, based on art by Ji-Hyuk Kim, speaks to the prevailing power of kindness and will resonate with anyone who’s been made to feel different.
A lyrical narration and luminous illustrations tell an uplifting intergenerational story of kindness and confidence, loss and remembrance, with resonance for any child who feels other-than.