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Reviewed by Ange Birks, Classroom Teacher, Ohinewai School, North Waikato
Opening sentence
Sora's grandmother, Halmoni, visited from far away every summer.
A beautiful story about a little girl whose grandma visits her from South Korea every year and they spend their time at the beach, searching for seashells. Early on Halmoni (or grandmother) shows her kindness by leaving the shell she thinks is the most pretty on the bench for someone else to find. Sora initially questions this and continues to collect her favourite shells and take them home.

Once she starts kindergarten some of the children are unkind to her because she is different to them but she keeps her sadness to herself. When her grandmother dies, Sora learns the true meaning of her name and shares her shells with all the children, including those who were unkind to her. This act of kindness and generosity mirrors Halmoni’s kindness in leaving a pretty shell for someone to find at the beginning of the story.

This message of kindness and forgiveness is gently bought to the attention of the reader as the little girl find happiness in herself.

The illustrations are bright and colourful with detail that supports the story well. It is interesting that the story has two illustrators, Stella Lim based her illustrations on the sketches of Ji-Hyuk Kim.
Author & Illustrator: Author: Helena Ku Rhee Illustrator: Stella Lim with Ji-Hyuk Kim
Publisher: Candlewick Press
ISBN: 978-1-5362-0993-8
Format: Hardback
Publication: May 2023
Ages: 5-10
Themes: Kindness, originality, individuality