Perfect Picture Book Friday – Yoko

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday . It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because I think it has a really good message.


By Rosemary Wells

Published by Scholastic in 1999

32 pages

Good for any age (read aloud for pre-schoolers)

Theme/Topic – Acceptance / Inclusion

Opening and Synopsis – “What would you like for lunch today, my little cherry blossom?” asked Yoko’s mother. “All my favorite things, please,” answered Yoko.

Yoko doesn’t fit in at school because she likes sushi and red bean ice cream. The other kids tease her and call her names because she has different customs. To help out Yoko, her teacher, Mrs. Jenkins, came up with the idea to have “International Food Day” where all the kids had to bring food in from a different country and every kid HAD to try EVERYTHING! But, alas, poor Yoko found that no one even touched the sushi her mother so carefully made. That is until one brave (and hungry) little boy chomped down a piece of sushi and then finished off the rest! He even let Yoko show him how to use chopsticks. Yoko finally found a friend who accepted her for who she is.

Activities and Resources – In our house we eat a lot of different foods. Even if it is something my sister or I don’t think we want to eat, we still take a “polite bite” or in other words, just try it, you may even LIKE it! I’ve tried sushi before and it is pretty good. If you don’t think your kids will like it, you can try to make candy sushi! You can look HERE to see how to make it. Maybe once a week/month have a lunch or dinner with food from a different country/region. It would be nice to have everyone cook together and maybe try to learn about the country or region you are eating food from.

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog “Just Right Books” HERE!

Why I like this book. I really like this book because it shows how important it is to include and accept all different people as they are. It also shows the harm and hurt feelings you can cause by making fun of people just because they are a little different. I also really like how the boy who tried the sushi really didn’t care what the other kids thought and he just did his own thing and made a really good friend in Yoko. I also really liked the illustrations 🙂

Categories: Age 1-5

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31 replies

  1. Interesting review, Erik.
    I have a question for you. I see this book has an animal portrayed as Yoko. When you are reading a book, do you like animals illustrated in the place of people or do you prefer that it be human characters? or does it matter to you?

    • Thanks! I didn’t really think about it before! For myself, even in novels I don’t care which is which! I like the Redwall series AND the Percy Jackson series. I think it matters what the story is about and how well it’s illustrated (I don’t really care how it’s drawn – comics, realistic, sketches) in picture books. Pretty much it’s how good the book is!
      Hope that answers your question.
      Erik 🙂

  2. Last week you chose a book I know and love, but this week you’ve chosen one I’ve never read! It looks terrific (I am a big Rosemary Wells fan) and addresses such an important topic. Another book to add to the library list 🙂 And I have to confess… I have never tried sushi!

  3. I like this topic. Sounds like this is a great way to deal with it. I also appreciate your tips on your own experience with a “polite bite.”

  4. My daughters and I discovered Yoko Writes her Name this summer and loved the message of acceptance. We haven’t read any other books from the Yoko series, though, so we will have to look for this one at the library. Thanks for your review!

  5. Great review, Erik! When I was teaching, we had a school-wide International Festival where each class chose a different country to study. One of the activities was to bring in food for others to try. It’s a great way to help kids feel accepted!

  6. I love Yoko, Erik and am very glad you chose it this week. It is a great addition to multicultural books for preschoolers. Super activity suggestion too – I’m up for making and eating sushi!

  7. Great review. I’m always looking for new books to read to my children.

    Thanks for the Candy Sushi shout-out!


  8. Great selection! I love Rosemary Wells but hadn’t seen this title of hers. I want my kids to try sushi, so I’ll have to read them this book first. 🙂

  9. Great book choice Erik! You have reminded me of a book a reviewed awhile ago, which I must look for it also deals with kids from different countries and their culture. Would be good for this time of year to. I also love sushi. Tell me, do you use chopsticks? I think its the only way to go with sushi!

    • Thanks! If you find the book you are thinking of, please let me know what it is! I do use chopsticks but I have to use the kind where you wrap a rubber band around the top. I keep trying the regular kind and I think I’m getting better 😉

  10. This is a great book teaching children about other cultures and that it’s okay to do your own thing. Thanks Erik!

  11. Great review! I’ll definitely have to look at the book and perfect picture books blog. Now I need to try a new food.

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