A Step from Heaven (Hardcover) by An Na. Ashville, North Carolina: Front Street, 2001. ISBN: 1886910588. pp: 156. Ages:12 and up, gr: 7-12
Paperback (Reprint edition January 13, 2003) Puffin. ISBN: 0142500275

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Summary

Young Ju’s earliest memories of life in Korea with her parents and Grandmother are happy ones, but there is the occasional dark moment of fear when her father gets drunk and gets mean. The family thinks that everything will be better when they get to America where her father’s sister is living, even through Grandmother says that she is too old to go. But things aren’t as easy as they had hoped and the drunken fights begin again. Young Ju is a fighter in her own way and overcomes the difficulties of home life and getting along with her peers. Young Ju isn’t perfect and we see some of her mistakes on her way to achieving her dreams.

Activities

Discuss:

  1. What happened to Apa after he returned to Korea?

  2. Why didn’t Uhmma ask for help from her parents or brother?

  3. How was Uhmma able to keep the box of pictures a secret from Apa?

  4. Did Young Ju have a happy childhood? In what ways, yes; in what ways, no?

  5. Characters in literature play various roles; is Apa a villain or tragic character?

  6. How would this story be different if the setting were another culture in the United States?

  7. Explain how Apa and Young Ju are both fighters in their own ways.

  8. Uhmma tells Young Ju to remember that she comes from a family of dreamers. How did Apa’s dreams contribute to his problems? How did Young Ju’s dreams contribute to her success?

Examine the Immigrant Magazine. Critique the helpfulness of this site to a family coming from Korea today.

About the Author

Awards

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More for the teacher

Links to other online guides for Step from Heaven.

Assessment

A Step from Heaven. Accelerated Reader: Quiz #49813 EN; Book Level 4.2; Points= 6.0
Reading Counts: Reading Level 7.1; Points= 11.0
Lexile Level 670
word count= 39184
Flesch/Kincaid 4.8

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