Chinese Eyes

Marjorie Waybill’s delightful story of Becky, an adopted Korean girl in the first grade, will help readers understand the feelings of other children and to accept their own differences (Google Books)
Year of Publication
Number of Pages
Herald Press
Average: 4 (1 vote)


Please login to review this resource

Beneath the surface of our differences, we are the same.

Field of Interest/Specialty: Asian Studies; French and Spanish
Posted On: 01/30/2019

Chinese Eyes is the story of first grader, Becky, who is an adopted child of Korean descent. On a typical day at school, Becky, who loves her best friend, her teacher and generally everything about being a first grader is called “Chinese Eyes” by a third grade boy. Becky spends the rest of the day miserable, isolating herself from her friends and is even afraid to talk to her teacher for fear of starting to cry. Becky doesn’t really understand why she is so upset, but she knows that she has been hurt by the boy’s comments. She doesn’t understand why he made this comment to her.
Upon her arrival at home Becky finds her mother in the garden. She is able to confide in her mother and tell her what happened. The mother takes her inside to look in the mirror so that they can compare their eyes in color and shape. They point out that their eyes are different, and that Becky’s eyes have similar features to children in China. She goes on to explain to Becky that even though their eyes are different, there is one thing they have in common that is more important than their differences - they both can see. Her mother goes on to point out their different noses, but Becky quickly points out that despite their differences, they can still smell the flowers the same way.
Chinese Eyes is a lovely elementary level book that would be appropriate to spark any discussion about race. It is easy to read and the character of Becky is easily relatable to anyone who has ever felt different, or has been teased. Older groups of students will be able to dig a little deeper about the issues posed, while younger ones will be able to talk about right and wrong. I would use this book with my fifth and sixth grade students in our bi-weekly Advisory group. Even though the level is a little bit low for them, the message is clear and will allow them to speak openly about their own experiences and make a plan for moving forward to recognize and value one another’s differences. I also want them to understand that beneath the surface the things that seem to make us different are really things that unite us in common experience.
Reviewed by Sarah Thatcher
Saucon Valley Middle School
Hellertown, Pennsylvania