December 13, 2011
Goyangi Means Cat by Christine McDonnell, illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher
When Soo Min comes to a new family in the U.S. things are tough. She speaks no English and her new family knows only four Korean words:
- mok-da = eat
- chim-dae = bed
- bahp = rice
- jip = house
Her new Apah (father) and Omah (mother) are good to her but the one that Soo Min truly connects with is Goyangi (cat). After all, you don’t need language to know that rubbing and purrs mean love.
Then one day, Goyangi follows Apah out of the apartment. Soo Min wonders if she will ever see her new friend again.
This is a touching story that honestly shows the confusion and difficulty of being adopted into a new culture with a different language. But it just as clearly shows the love this family has for their new daughter and the pet who makes her happy.
Johnson and Fancher’s illustrations are a combination of acrylic and oil paints and patterned papers. They intentionally selected paper designs that reflect the Eastern world where Soo Min began and her life as well as the Western world she later learned to call home — all because of one very special cat.
This book would be an excellent family read for anyone bringing a child from another culture into their home and is sure to spark discussions about belonging and love and family.