“A beautifully optimistic tale of the first day of school in America for a young girl from Korea.”
Even before readers reach the first page, Kim masterfully sets the stage of this inspiring story through masterful use of endpapers and the title page. Readers first see young Danbi tenderly hugging an older woman wearing a hanbok; her parents stand close by with large suitcases. On the title page, Danbi sits with her parents in a miniature airplane flying toward a patchwork depiction of America. On the next page, Danbi holds her mother’s hand as they approach a big building that is clearly Danbi’s new school. The school morning is rough. Danbi struggles with understanding her teacher and the activities of her classmates. When lunch arrives, she is relieved to think she finally knows what to do, but while her classmates unpack sandwiches from paper bags, Danbi’s traditional bento box is filled with foods like dumplings and rice cakes. Seeing her classmates are curious, Danbi tries to teach them to use chopsticks. Though unsuccessful, the outreach leads to an impromptu music session that spills out of the classroom and into the playground as Danbi leads them all in a parade. Literally from cover to cover Kim imbues this story with character and charm. Her beautiful illustration style features gray and white backgrounds that focus readers’ attention on her characters, each of whom—from Danbi to her family to her teacher and classmates—demonstrate rich personality through details like hair, clothing, facial expressions, and twisting movements. Kim fills this story of diversity and immigration with tenderness and hope.
Meet Danbi, the new girl at school!
Danbi is thrilled to start her new school in America. But a bit nervous too, for when she walks into the classroom, everything goes quiet. Everyone stares. Danbi wants to join in the dances and the games, but she doesn’t know the rules and just can’t get anything right. Luckily, she isn’t one to give up. With a spark of imagination, she makes up a new game and leads her classmates on a parade to remember! Danbi Leads the School Parade introduces readers to an irresistible new character. In this first story, she learns to navigate her two cultures and realizes that when you open your world to others, their world opens up to you.
The illustrations really compliment the sweet story of moving to a new place, finding your way and making new friends.
Anna Kim immigrated to the United States from Korea when she was a child, just like Danbi. She grew up doodling around the edges of her notebooks and on any loose scraps of paper she could find. During her years of teaching music to children, she discovered that drawing stories on sticky notes worked magic for kids who couldn’t sit still. Danbi Leads the School Parade is her debut. Anna lives in New York City, in a home full of sticky notes.