Watts's elegant story and Yum's soft, radiant art combine to make the book wrenching, hopeful and lovely in equal measure.
—New York Times Book Review
This gentle, compassionate immigration narrative shows the difficulties of adapting to a new culture. Unlike most picture books on the subject, its setting is contemporary and its intergenerational story reflects the struggles of several family members. Scenes in Korea are written in past tense, but once the setting shifts to America, present tense adds immediacy to the simply worded, effective storytelling. Yum, a Korean artist who moved to America, contributes sensitive and expressive watercolor illustrations. A perceptive portrayal of an important American experience.
—Booklist (starred review)
Closely observed and greatly moving, Watts's (Kizzy Ann Stamps) story is a useful springboard for discussions about difference and tolerance.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Moving from Korea to West Virginia, a young boy leaves the familiar behind…Watts’ clear storytelling successfully conveys Hee Jun’s emotional journey to readers, and Yum’s emotive illustrations sensitively complement the text. Immigrant children will relate to the head-spinning switch from ordinary to different, and their classmates might better understand the emotional impact of moving to a foreign land.
This immigration story, paired with Irena Kobald's My Two Blankets, can offer readers who feel different and alone hope that things will get better, and may encourage others to help them on their way. The lengthy text paints a realistic picture of difficulties faced by a family striving to make a new start, and the positive resolution is quietly satisfying.
—School Library Journal
Watts presents an emotionally credible account of what life can be like for newcomers to a place and sensitively portrays Hee Jun's experiences…Yum's tidy watercolor illustrations feature her usual rosy-cheeked figures, and the art skill- fully conveys emotion, increasing the amount of background detail and using an ever-livelier palette as Hee Jun gradually settles into American life. Use possibilities abound for this thoughtful and thought-provoking title.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
The soft colorful pictures connect beautifully to the emotions and relationships of the characters. This story is a great jumping-off point for discussions around tolerance, differences, and being the new kid in school.
—School Library Connection