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by Kate Aver Avraham

illustrated by Anne Sibley O'Brien


From Booklist

Older brother Chong describes a Korean family’s preparation for his baby sister Sara Mee’s tol, or first birthday celebration. In addition to special food and music, the family plays the game toljabee, in which symbolic items are placed before the child. According to custom, the first item the child grabs predicts his or her future.When Sara Mee picks up the paintbrush, Chong celebrates by making a card, providing words for his sister’s scribbles. Watercolor pictures framed with a thick black line focus on Sara Mee, charmingly outfitted in traditional dress, and her very proud, helpful brother. Of particular interest to Korean American families, this festive story also introduces a different cultural birthday tradition to non-Koreans. An author’s note personalizes the story and explains a little more; a glossary of terms is appended, but there is no pronunciation guide.


1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, Ages 4-8, Bilingual, Family, Holiday, Identity, Korean-American