Get ready for laughter and an honest look at the young immigrant experience, told through the lens of someone who has been there.
Praise for I’m Ok
“…a moving story of family, culture, and growing up…”
– Publishers Weekly
“A work of heavy, realistic fiction told with oddball humor, honesty, and heart.”
– Kirkus Review
“This is an important novel that can serve as either a window or a mirror for middle-grade readers…”
– Caitlin Kling, Booklist
“Kim writes with easygoing accessibility and vivid detail.”
– Quinita Balderson, BCCB
“I love the profound honesty of I’m Ok.”
– Linda Sue Park, Newbery Medalist
“So funny and heartfelt. You know how they say the best fiction is true even though it’s made up? This book is true.”
– Gene Luen Yang, author of American Born Chinese
Ok Lee knows it’s his responsibility to help pay the bills. With his father gone and his mother working three jobs and still barely making ends meet, there’s really no other choice. If only he could win the cash prize at the school talent contest! But he can’t sing or dance, and has no magic up his sleeves, so he tries the next best thing: a hair braiding business.
It’s too bad the girls at school can’t pay him much, and he’s being befriended against his will by Mickey McDonald, the unusual girl with a larger-than-life personality. Who needs friends? They’d only distract from his mission, and Ok believes life is better on his own. Then there’s Asa Banks, the most popular boy in their grade, who’s got it out for Ok.
But when the pushy deacon at their Korean church starts wooing Ok’s mom, it’s the last straw. Ok has to come up with an exit strategy—fast.
– The New York Times Book Review
“For children who have moved to an unfamiliar country or town, it’s a sensitive reminder that they are not alone; for others, it’ll be an eye-opening window into what those kids are going through.”
– Publisher Weekly
“A powerful wordless picture book about the chaotic feelings of a boy coming to a new country and how these emotions gradually ease as he experiences kindness.”
Experience a young boy’s journey to a new life in a new country, a new world full of possibility, and a new future of hope. This wordless picture book tells the story of a child’s adjustment to a new life in America.
“Elegantly and humorously told…precise and assured storytelling.”
-The New York Times Book Review
“The author deftly evokes such vivid moments … her depiction of her heroine’s struggle to come to terms with a new land–as well as of the push-pull relationship between father and daughter–are both memorable and moving.”
– Kirkus Associates
Winner of the Towson University Prize for Literature
Nominated for the Book-of-the-Month Club’s Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction
Ahn Joo Cho is eight when she sees her mother and baby brother enter a cab that pulls away from the Arlington, Va., apartment where the immigrant Korean family lives. Ahn Joo finds a cryptic note telling her to wait patiently, for her mother will come back. This promise sustains her over the next few years as she cares for her alcoholic and often abusive father and puts up with his young live-in lover. But as time passes and she helps her father with his vending cart on the streets of Washington, D.C., Ahn Joo’s bewilderment over her mother’s abandonment is reflected in her schoolwork and peer relationships.
Kim’s sensitive debut novella gives Ahn Joo an appealing vulnerability under a fiercely independent facade. As she yearns for her absent mother, Ahn Joo gives voice to her anguish in stories and poems that allow her to sift through memories of her parents’ strained relationship. The growing conflict between Ahn Joo and her earnest but uneducated father eventually unearths a secret that lays to rest many questions about Mrs. Cho’s desertion and allows Ahn Joo to understand her father’s misery.