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Juna's Jar by Jane Bahk
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Juna's Jar

by Jane Bahk

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This is an adorably sweet story about the heartache Juna feels when her best friend, Hector, unexpectedly moves away. Juna's brother tries to cheer her up, first with a goldfish, then a plant, then a cricket. Each time, they put these items in the special kimchi jar she and Hector used to collect things. This leads to Juna's imagination taking her on adventures in search of her friend. There is hope at the end of the story when Juna meets a young girl at the park who asks to put an inchworm in her jar. We don't know for sure, but we can bet that this is the beginning of a new friendship.

Young readers will enjoy this story and be able to make an emotional connection. It can be a great springboard for launching a discussion about how it feels when friends move away, or how it feels when you have to move away from friends. ( )
  CathyInWA | Jul 20, 2017 |
There are a number of Spanish words and Korean words that are defined and used in the story. I love when books do this because it is either a great learning opportunity for students who have not been introduced to these words or validating to students that have family who use the words regularly.
  kmcfadden | Jun 8, 2017 |
The picture book, "Junas Jar", written by, Jane Bahk, illustrates a young girl named, Juna. Juna is Korean. Juna and her brother, Minho, enjoy eating kimchi out of jars. Juna plays in the park with her friend Hector. When Hector moves far away, Juna is very upset, so, her grandmother buys her a fish that she can put in her empty jar. At night Juna imagines she is swimming with her pet fish under the sea, her goal is to find Hector because she misses him and wish he was there exploring with her. Each time Juna wakes up from her dream each animal and plant out grows her jar, so, Juna empty's it out and fills it up again. Throughout the story Juna's imagination grows bigger and bigger each time. Along Junas journey on a giant cricket she finds her friend Hector, hector has one of Junas empty jars filled with items, just like hers. At the end, Juna offers her empty jar to a new friend. In the book, the bright colorful detailed illustrations bring Juna's imaginations to life. ( )
  megantroutner1 | Oct 3, 2016 |
Lee & Low does some absolutely lovely books, but they tend to be very text-heavy. This is understandable - it's difficult to balance between providing enough context for kids who aren't familiar with the diverse cultures portrayed and writing authentic stories for diverse kids themselves. Although this has a little more text than I usually look for in picture books, it's such a lovely story and so beautifully written and illustrated that I think kids will sit through it.

June loves her kimchi jar. She uses it to collect things with her best friend Hector. But then one day when she visits Hector's apartment his Abuelita tells her that Hector's parents have taken him to live in a big house. Juna is devastated and her big brother, Minho, gets her a fish for her kimchi jar to make her feel better. That night Juna goes on a magical adventure with her fish....but the next morning it's too big and has to move out of the jar. Her brother has another idea and they plant a seed, which takes Juna on an adventure to the rainforest. When they put a cricket in next, June rides it across the city to Hector's new house, where she sees him tucked up with his own kimchi jar full of treasures. Juna is ready for new treasures - and a new friend - to help her put them in her jar.

Softly colored drawings express Juna's sorrow at losing her friend and her wonder in the magical world she inhabits. I loved the expressive blues and greens swirling about the pages, especially in the dream sequences. It would be a lovely inspiration not only for kids to find their own jars and treasures but also to create their own imaginative landscapes.

Diversity is smoothly mixed into the story, teaching the reader a few phrases of Korean and Spanish and presenting a family life that will be familiar to many children - closely-knit siblings and friends who move quickly or live with grandparents.

Verdict: Although this is a longer story and will need an older audience to truly appreciate it, it's also a lovely, diverse journey into imagination and feelings. Highly recommended.

ISBN: 9781600608537; Published 2015 by Lee & Low; Borrowed from another library in my consortium
  JeanLittleLibrary | Mar 26, 2016 |
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