Title: No Kimchi for Me!
Author: Aram Kim
Illustrator: Aram Kim
Target Ages: 3-8
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Yoomi hates stinky, spicy kimchi. So her brothers call her a baby and refuse to play with her. But Yoomi is NOT a baby! Maybe if she tires it on a chocolate chip cookie…
This coming-of-age story celebrates family, food, and Korean culture.
It’s time for lunch!
Yoomi loves Grandma’s dried seaweed, tiny anchovies, soft egg omelets…even her seasoned bean sprouts!
But Yoomi does not like stinky spicy kimchi!
No Kimchi for Me introduces children to diverse cuisine. The foods described (seaweed, anchovies, bean sprouts, and, in particular, kimchi) are an opportunity for many to learn about another culture as well as a chance for Korean children to see their familiar foods celebrated.
Yoomi’s aversion to a food her family enjoys is one that kids in any culture can identify with. I was not a persnickety eater, but there were a couple family staples I abhorred as a child (creamed corn and baked beans being the two most memorable). While the kimchi is a cultural specific food, the illustrations (anthropomorphic cats) and theme (fussy eating) are universal. Discussing this issue is one way to illustrate to children we are more alike than different.
Yoomi is teased by her brothers. They call her a “baby” and leave her out of their activities. The teasing, while not desirable, is realistic. In most families, there is playful and some times competitive banter between siblings. While teasing is generally not a desirable response, it does prompt Yoomi to get over her picky preferences. Parents and teachers can discuss alternative ways the brothers could have responded.
Ultimately, Yoomi is perseverant. Even though her initial impression of kimchi is negative, she does not refuse to try it again. Instead, she attempts to enjoy it on some of her favorite foods. (I learned to like creamed corn after mixing it with mashed potatoes.) None of her combinations are tasty though.
Her clever and patient grandmother saves the day by making a special kimchi pancake recipe. Yoomi is celebrated as a “big girl” as her family gathers around the table, sharing the big kimchi pancake! The feeling of community and personal accomplishment is conveyed.
Once she conquers this food feat, she joins in games with her older brothers. Yoomi now feels both more grown up as well as part of her cultural heritage.
I recommend No Kimchi for Me for your class or home library.
Activities and Extension Ideas for Lesson Plans:
Make Kimchi Pancakes with Aram Kim (Recipe in Book)