today’s children storybook summary is
Here I am
By Patty Kim
Illustration by Sonia Sanchez
Storyline: Looking down from the airplane window, the boy sees the city below. But he is not smiling, he is not excited, he is sad. Coming out of the plane, with his parents and a younger sibling, he keeps looking back. Because looking ahead, he sees that everything is new and strange. People are different, the writing on the signs makes no sense, and the building looks like nothing he had seen before. He is a foreigner in a strange country.
It is late at night when they open the door of a place which is to become their new home. But for now, it looks like he is stepping into a big and scary unknown. One thing comforts him: a red seed in his pocket that had been brought from somewhere else where he was happy.
Life in this new city is not easy for him, but his parents seem joyful. He doesn’t know the streets and the new places, he doesn’t have friends, and he do not understand much of what they say at school. He spends lots of time looking out the window on his room. One of those day, as he watches a girl playing with the jump rope, he drops the red seed he was holding. The seed fells down, many stories bellow his window, right on the girl’s head. She picks it up and springs away. By the time the boy comes rushing down, she’s gone. There’s nothing he can do.
Days pass. The city becomes somehow friendlier as he discovers places, meets people, and gets used to his new home. He finds out that pretzels are good and sometimes he can feed the birds on the street, or that it is fun to have a picnic in the park.
And it is at the park that he finally finds the girl that took his seed. When she swings upside-down from a branch of the tree, the seed fells down to his feet. The two kids decide to plant the seed and watch to see what it may grow. Soon a beautiful flower tree springs up. It is something familiar to him. By this time, the boy is no longer a foreigner in this new country. He is now at home. The seed of hope had grown roots.
As you may have noticed by now, this is a story about an immigrant family and their struggle to make a new home for themselves.
At the end of the book, which has no words, just illustration, the author tells the real story of coming to the United Stated from Korea. The story takes too pages and those are the only pages that have words.
Characters: a boy with a stripped hooded shirt, a girl with a red stripped dress
Illustration: Sonia Sanchez, the illustrator, has a very important job: she is in charge of telling the story. Since the book has no words, she must illustrate everything clear and simple, so the storyline flows seamlessly, and the readers follows it with ease. And she delivers very well. What you get is dense scenes that are rich in details. The colors are chosen to emphasize and draw attention as well as to set apart objects, ideas or actions. The character’s emotional state is also very well defined which helps the reader connect with the story on a more personal level. Somehow cartoonish like, the illustration of this is appealing and easy to “read”.
Recommended Age: 5 to 8
Reading Time: 5 minutes