Yuna’s Cardboard Castles

Beaming. Jan. 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781506483412.
K-Gr 2–A book about fitting in and filling new spaces that uses wonder and wistfulness as part of its vocabulary. Yuna watches her mom and dad “fold, fit, and tuck new things into old spaces,” and wonders how she will fit into her new home. She misses her old home—in one illustration, the outline of her body is filled with a street scene, including a rice cake stand—and doesn’t speak the language of her new one, so although she longs to play with the other neighborhood kids, she isn’t able to bridge the gap between them at first. Instead, she makes origami, which takes on a life of its own (“paper and cardboard became the world all around her”). A fanciful spread shows her riding on the back of a pink paper crane, surrounded by paper boats and paper pansies. Her creations eventually expand to the titular cardboard castle, and when a boy crashes a paper kite into it, the two become friends. Back matter includes an autobiographical author’s note and instructions for making an origami boat “that can actually float!”
VERDICT With its poetic language and beautiful imagery, this story of immigration and connection through play is a worthwhile addition to most collections.

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