Yoon and the Christmas Mitten
by Helen Recorvits, illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska
Frances Foster Books, 2007
While this book is older and only available used or at a library, it’s worth seeking out. It’s a poignant story about a young Korean girl, new to America, who doesn’t understand why she can’t celebrate Santa Claus.
In kindergarten, Yoon learns about Santa Claus. She attempts to tell her parents about this wonderful man, but they say they live in a Korean house, not a Christmas house. She learns about reindeer, makes popcorn balls and learns about Christmas stockings, but her parents stay solid on claiming they live in a Korean house, not a Christmas house. Frustrated, Yoon points out, “But father, you have also told me that America is our home now. Are we not both Korean and American?” He contemplates her words and compliments her, “You are full of shining wisdom, little Yoon.” On Christmas Day, she awakens to a piece of the North Pole in her mitten and a gift by her bed.
Beyond the main theme of immigrants having to make changes when they move to a new land, many additional components make this a wonderful story: the young child is ‘heard’ by her parents, the loose illustrations speak to the heart, and the charm of a red mitten in place of a stocking. An endearing tale.