Review Detail

Kids Fiction 233
Finding Junie Kim
(Updated: May 23, 2021)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Junie Kim faces racist comments from a school bully at her middle school. Along with that her school is vandalized with hateful, racist graffiti. When her friends want to make a stand, Junie doesn't want to as she doesn't think it will matter. Then she is given a class assignment to interview someone from the Silent Generation. What her grandparents reveal about their childhood during the Korean War will give her strength and courage to face her own problems.

What worked: I totally loved this story! Powerful writing that pulls you right into a story where a middle schooler learns about her own beloved grandparent's childhood during the Korean War. Junie's story is one that is needed right now, especially during the recent attacks against those in the Asian community. Junie witnesses first hand this hatred by the graffiti on her middle school's walls and also by the local bully who targets her everyday at the bus stop.

What's so strong about this story isn't just her grandparent's stories of racism they faced when they first moved to the United States from Korea, but their harrowing stories of survival during the Korean War. Junie gains strength through their stories and is able to realize how important it is to speak out in the face of racism, even when it's scary. I especially loved how her grandfather shared with her that silence can be a weapon.

'Silence in the face of racism gives racism the power to continue to hurt people of color. Only by speaking up can we take away that power.'

Junie and her friends do just that with their school presentation on racism and standing up against it.

Powerful coming of age story where a young girl draws strength from her Korean grandparent's stories during the Korean War and the racism they faced when they first came to the United States. But this story is much more than that. It shows how important it is to not be silent in the face of racism. Totally recommend. Highly suggest this be included in middle school and high school libraries. Also would be a great book club selection.
Good Points
1. Coming of age story
2. Powerful writing
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