Unidentified Suburban Object

by Mike Jung

Chloe Cho’s immigrant parents never talk about Korea so she’s explored... read more

Chloe Cho’s immigrant parents never talk about Korea so she’s explored her heritage on her own. When her parents’ reticence makes it impossible for Chloe to share a family story as required for a class, her parents finally reveal they aren’t really Korean: they’re aliens from another planet. They chose an all-white U.S. town to live in knowing everyone there would assume immigrants are ignorant. In turn, the residents of the town are so ignorant about Koreans that no one has ever assumed Chloe’s parents are anything but what they claimed to be. Chloe’s best friend, Shelley, who has learned about Korean culture with Chloe, is the only person who has always understood Chloe’s eye-rolling annoyance and occasional anger at the many uninformed things people say to her. Learning that she isn’t who, or even what, she always thought makes Chloe question everything, including Shelley’s interest in her culture, until she discovers both how little has changed and how much the things that matter—true friendship and family love—have remained steadfast. Mike Jung’s use of otherworldly “aliens” as a metaphor for how white Americans think about people of other races and cultures makes for a smart, funny, layered novel that is both blithe and insightful. (Ages 9–13)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2017

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