Yoon and the Christmas Mitten

Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
Yoon and the Christmas Mitten Book Poster Image
Beautiful lesson on sharing holiday traditions.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Everyone learns about and accepts a different culture's holiday traditions.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there is nothing objectionable in this book. The age at which this book is read might depend on how your child feels about Santa Claus. Questions may arise, though the story does support the magic of Santa.

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What's the story?

At her new American school, Yoon learns about Santa Claus and rushes home to tell her parents all about him. Her parents explain that they \"are not a Christmas family,\" but Yoon continues to dream about Santa, and each day she learns more about Christmas in America.

Yoon decorates Christmas bushes outside her window, learns Christmas stories and songs, and eventually hangs a \"Christmas mitten\" on her bed in the hope that Santa will visit her. In the end, everyone in the family, and at school, learns something about sharing.

Is it any good?

Page after page in YOON AND THE CHRISTMAS MITTEN is filled with fanciful images that float dreamily through the air. Muted, snowy scenes contrast with sensitive, up-close portraits of Yoon in the foreground -- they're so festive they almost glow. As Yoon tells her story, her slightly stilted phrasing sounds like that of a new immigrant from Korea. However, her concerns and reactions are those of all children, who will understand her excitement about Santa, and sympathize when her parents do not seem interested.

Of course this is more than the story of one girl's wish for Santa's visit. It is about the subtle struggles of an immigrant family as they try to keep their own culture while blending into a new one. The loving respect within the family helps them to bridge the gaps.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about different cultures and holiday traditions. What holidays do different cultures celebrate, and what do they do to make those days special? Parents and kids might dig out the atlas, find Korea and other countries on a map, and talk about how it would feel to move so far or how it would feel to be an outsider in such a different world. Kids might want to talk about what to do when they disagree with their parents. Would they decorate the bushes on their own, try to teach songs to their parents, and hang up a Christmas mitten as Yoon did?

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