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About the Author

Order Nami's New Friend

Please click on the "Order Book" button below. Choose the number of books you want to purchase and add it to the cart. Follow the prompts to checkout. Feel free to share your pictures on social media. Be sure to tag me and send me a copy so I can add it to the website. THANK YOU!!!


Mandy Namjou Yom immigrated to the states from Seoul, South Korea when she was eight years old. She did not know how to speak a word of English at the time and she ventured into her new world with mixed emotions not knowing how things would turn out. Fortunately, things turned out well and she has come full circle. Mandy Namjou Yom has been working as a Kindergarten teacher for English Learners for the past 22 years in Illinois. She wrote this book to share her real-life experiences of what it was like being an immigrant child starting school for the first time in America. And to also show the language of friendship goes beyond spoken words and connections can be built in various ways.


About the Illustrator
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About the Book


Will Nami ever fit into her new school, in a new land, in a new country? The first day of school for any child is a mixed bag of emotions. For Nami, this was especially true. She had just immigrated to the states with her family from Korea. While she felt excited about her first day of school in America, everything was so different. She worried if she would make any friends when she couldn’t even speak the same language. 


In Nami’s New Friend by Mandy Namjou Yom we experience what it feels like to be the new kid from a different country in a new school. Can the universal themes of belonging and friendship prevail over differences and barriers?


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Imagine leaving everything and everyone you know and arriving in a foreign land where you do not know the language or any of the customs. This was before the internet and all I had to go on were the wonderful stories my parents had told me; American schools are the best! There is so much land in America! You can be anything in America!


The morning the plane landed in the states, there was a blanket of the whitest snow I had ever seen and it glistened in the sun. In my young mind, all I could think was how great America really was that it even snowed glitter! That memory will be forever imprinted in my mind. While living in the states, I've had great opportunities afforded to me but there were many challenges as well.

Being only one of a handful of bilingual, bicultural, minority students at my elementary school in Wisconsin, I often wondered if my experiences as an immigrant child was similar to other children. During the time I was growing up, there weren't children's picture books that reflected diverse characters' stories and that is one of the main reasons I wanted to write this story. However, I am thankful there are more books being written and published that represent all our stories now. I am especially grateful for this because I work in a wonderfully diverse school district and everyday I get to see my story reflected in the faces of my students. 


Giving Back
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Joanne Wong is a British born Chinese picture book illustrator and writer. She grew up in the suburbs of the UK and is a daughter of immigrant Hong Kong Chinese parents. The story of Nami and trying to 'fit-in' at school resonated deeply with her.


Joanne has always loved picture books, especially creating her own illustrations. She received a Master of Arts in Illustration from the University of Arts London at Camberwell College. Joanne currently lives in the sub-tropical countryside of Hong Kong with her family.


To see more of her work go to

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However, this isn't always the case for some immigrant children and families. Starting a new life in a new country can be filled with many challenges. One of which is not always having the finances to purchase school supples.


I will be donating 5% of net profits to immigrant students so they can get the supplies they need for school.

"We rise by lifting others." ~Robert Ingersoll


Now what kind of teacher would I be if I didn't include a few lesson plans you can use with your students??

Click on the PDF and download the free lessons for Nami's New Friend.

SEL Lesson

Story Retell Lesson

Cultural Awareness Lesson

Text to Self Connection Lesson

All About Me Identity Lesson

Getting to Know You Ice-Breaker Activity

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Teacher Resources


Do you remember going shopping for school supplies at the start of each new year school? Do you remember the excitement and joy you felt when you found the perfect notebook with a fancy design or a box of scented markers?



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