Yuna’s Cardboard Castles (Marie Tang)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Yuna’s Cardboard Castles, written by Marie Tang and illustrated by Jieting Chen, a sweet story of immigration and forming friendships through creativity and play.

Yuna is nervous when her parents pack up all their things and move the family to a new country; she is met with more nerves when her new home looks so different and none of the neighborhood kids speak her language. Isolated, Yuna begins crafting origami as well as cardboard toys and structures inspired by memories of her birthplace: cranes, boats, a rice cake stand. As her cardboard castle grows, the neighborhood kids begin to take notice, but Yuna is still unsure how to communicate with them. Yet she will find that her talents for art and engineering may also be able to build bridges between people, and lead new neighbors to become new friends.

Inspiring and sweet. Anyone struggling with language barriers will relate to the difficulty of making friends when you can’t communicate verbally; even kind and friendly people can have difficulty connecting if you can’t understand each other. Tang’s empathetic and engaging text explores this concept in a way that reaches out to younger audiences, while Chen’s imaginative artwork captures the communicative powers of art and imaginative play. Backmatter features an origami craft, the length is great for a storytime (though the ending is a little abrupt, in my opinion), and JJ enjoyed it; she was inspired to make her own kite after our read. Overall, a welcoming tale that reminds us that kindness and creativity can transcend cultures and language, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by a representative of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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