Author: Lam, Thao
"Thao" seems like a simple enough name. Only four letters-all of them belonging to many other names! And yet Thao had been called everything from "Tail" to "Theo" to "Towel." At one point, completely fed up, she decided it was time to try another name. Something "easy." Something like "Jennifer." But trying to be someone else only works for so long. But "Jennifer" is swayed back to being herself when her mother has packed her lunch with her favorite food-- Goi cuon (Vietnamese spring rolls)!
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 1.50
Points: .5 Quiz: 512671
Kirkus Reviews (03/15/21)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 12/11/2020 Gr 1–3—Lam (The Paper Boat) again draws from her experience as a young immigrant from Vietnam, recalling how her new classmates and others mispronounced or even made fun of her name so much that finally she announced to her comically stunned parents that she just wanted to be called "Jennifer." The conceit lasts until lunchtime, when "Jennifer" discovers that her mom has packed "G?i cu?n! Thao's favorite!" From then on: "My name is Thao. It helps if you take out the h when you say it. But remember to put it back in when you spell it." For illustrations Lam inserts a family snapshot of herself amid a diverse and expressive crowd of paper collage school children in some scenes, and large hand-lettered words in others suspended, like the pithy narrative, on generous expanses of white space. The premise has been explored elsewhere, most notably in Helen Recorvits's powerful My Name Is Yoon, and Karen Lynn Williams and Khadra Mohammed's My Name Is Sangoel, but the autobiographical element here adds a distinctively personal inflection. VERDICT A lighthearted assertion of identity, particularly strong on appeal for younger children who have had to adjust to the demands of white American culture.—John Peters, Children's Literature Consultant, New York - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 03/15/2021 Acclaimed author and illustrator Lam’s eponymous new picture book will resonate with readers whose names are often mispronounced by others. Thao and her family immigrated to Canada from Vietnam when she was very young. She could not have imagined that her single-syllable name, Thao, could cause such a linguistic rumpus among peers and adults at school. In her characteristically spare style, Lam depicts young Thao’s predicament using visual precision and detail in her text and illustrations, delivering her message without fuss or complication and with a touch of humor. The image of Thao herself is cut from an old photograph, while all the other figures are composed of finely worked cut-paper collage, thus highlighting the essence of feeling different. Thao wonders if her life would be easier if she changed her name to something more recognizable. Readers will have to decide for themselves. Can be paired with Yangsook Choi’s The Name Jar (2001) and Karen Williams and Khadra Mohammed’s My Name Is Sangoel (2009). - Copyright 2021 Booklist.