Sora's Seashells

by Helena Ku Rhee (Author) Ji-Hyuk Kim (Illustrator)

Sora's Seashells
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

A lyrical narration and luminous illustrations tell an uplifting intergenerational story of kindness and confidence, loss and remembrance, with resonance for any child who feels other-than.

"Sora means 'seashell' in Korean," her mother said. "Halmoni always said finding a perfect shell is like receiving a wonderful gift. That's why she suggested we name you Sora."

Every summer, when Sora's Halmoni, or grandmother, visits from South Korea, the two of them take the bus to the beach to search for seashells. While Sora likes to take all of them back with her, Halmoni always leaves the prettiest shell for someone else to find and treasure. As summer turns to fall, Halmoni returns home and Sora starts kindergarten, where some of the kids tease her about her "weird" name.

One day, Sora's parents receive a sad call about her grandmother, and Sora feels more lost than ever about who she is and how she fits in. But when her parents reveal the origin of her name, Sora channels a newfound pride and, inspired by Halmoni, combats her peers' hurtful comments by sharing her shells with everyone in her class.

This story, told by Helena Ku Rhee and illustrated by Stella Lim, based on art by Ji-Hyuk Kim, speaks to the prevailing power of kindness and will resonate with anyone who's been made to feel different.

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Kirkus Reviews

A tender tale of loss and love.

Review quotes

Helena Ku Rhee
Helena Ku Rhee grew up in Los Angeles and has lived in various parts of the United States, Asia, and Europe. She is the author of the picture books Rosa's Song and The Paper Kingdom, both illustrated by Pascal Campion, and The Turtle Ship, illustrated by Colleen Kong-Savage. Helena Ku Rhee currently lives in Los Angeles.

Stella Lim studied fine art and graduated from Kingston University. She based her work for Sora's Seashells on sketches from Ji-Hyuk Kim. Stella Lim lives with her family in Seoul, South Korea.

Ji-Hyuk Kim
is the illustrator of the New York Times bestseller Through Your Eyes: My Child's Gift to Me by Ainsley Earhardt as well as many book jackets and covers. Ji-Hyuk Kim lives in South Korea.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Candlewick Press (MA)
Publication date
May 20, 2023
BISAC categories
JUV013030 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | Multigenerational
JUV011020 - Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | United States - Asian American
JUV039230 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Bullying
Library of Congress categories

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