Hee Jun likes his ordinary life. But that all changes when his father takes a new job in the United States. All of a sudden Hee Jun is extraordinary, and miserable. In A Piece of Home by Jeri Watts and illustrated by Hyewon Yum (Candlewick Press, 2016,) the reader is treated to a bittersweet story of loss and new beginnings. Watts uses beautiful and often lyrical language to help us see what it is like to be different in a new place. And if the reader is a child like Hee Jun, A Piece of Home is a perfect text-to-reader connection, bringing hope that soon a bit of ordinary will return. Yum’s illustrations are bright and cheery with wonderful facial expressions adding to the real sense of connections that are made while reading this book.
A Piece of Home is a must read book for families looking to instill empathy in their children about how hard it is to immigrate to a new place. The message transfers easily to many different immigrant experiences. When we reach out and make real life connections with diverse people, all our lives can share a bit of the extraordinary, while relishing the ordinary in which we find comfort.