- Danbi Leads the School Parade by Anna Kim
Kim, Anna Danbi Leads the School Parade; written and illus. by Anna Kim. Viking, 2020 [40p] Trade ed. ISBN 9780451478894 $17.99 E-book ed. ISBN 9780451478917 $10.99 Reviewed from galleys R 4-7 yrs
On Danbi's first day at her new school in America, her heart beats "Boom. Boom" in anxiety and worry. Unfortunately, the first part of the day is pretty rough: she doesn't know the language and certainly not the letters, and her best efforts at play still leave her alone. When she takes out her lunch, however, her classmates are intrigued by the Korean cuisine, and she's soon teaching them to use chopsticks: "Click-clack. Click-clack." With a tap on her lunchbox ("Ting!") and a classmate's tap on their juice box ("Ding!"), the lunchroom explodes with sound, and Danbi and her new pals joyfully march out to the playground. Danbi's new kid problems aren't necessarily specific to the immigration experience, but plenty of viewers who have found themselves in a new country will understand the cultural connection to food and identity, and it's refreshing that Danbi's classmates find joy in celebrating her culture rather than her assimilation. The touches of onomatopoeia throughout make for an effective build to the cheerful parade scene, and there is both a delicacy [End Page 480] and a richness to Kim's art, with fine, detailed linework and whimsical figures met with bold colors and sleek, linear compositions. The book ends with Danbi's finding a good pal in Nelly, and an author's note tells of Kim's own experience as a Korean immigrant and the school friends she made.