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by Linda Sue Park

illustrated by Linda Sue Park


School Library Journal:

/* Starred Review */ Gr 4-7 –When Julia Song moves with her family to Plainfield, IL, where they are the only Korean  family in town, she becomes good friends with her neighbor Patrick. They have joined the Wiggle (Work-Grow-Give-Live) Club, and they need a project for the state fair. Animal husbandry is their category of choice, but what can they raise in their suburban neighborhood? When Julia’s mother suggests silkworms, Patrick is enthusiastic, but Julia is not. Raising silkworms is so Korean , and she wants a real American project. Still, she agrees to the idea. When she realizes that to get the silk, the worms must die, her anguish clearly indicates how much her attitude has changed. At the end of almost every chapter, Park and her young protagonist discuss the story inside the story: where the author’s ideas came from, how the characters take on a life of their own, how questions raised in the book  continue to percolate inside some readers’ minds when it is finished. This lively interaction provides an interesting parallel to the silkworm project as it moves from idea to reality. Julia, a feisty seventh grader, concludes that it is important to know what you don’t know, an insight that she has as she grapples with her mother’s attitude toward blacks. Park appropriately leaves Julia wondering what’s behind her mother’s prejudices in certain situations. As the novel progresses, Patrick and Julia negotiate the ups and downs of their friendship, and Julia begins to show a gradual change in attitude toward her younger brother. This skillfully written tale will have wide appeal.–Barbara Scotto, Michael Driscoll School, Brookline, MA –Barbara Scotto (Reviewed May 1, 2005) (School Library Journal, vol 51, issue 5, p134)


  • Blue Hen Book  Award (Delaware): Middle Readers


4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, Ages 9-12, Cultural Differences, Identity