Unidentified Suburban Objects
by Mike Jung
Related Activities & Resources:
Writers’ Digest interview with Mike Jung:
The Writer interview of Mike Jung:
Amitha Knight interview of Mike Jung:
Mike Jung Blog:
Activities & Resources:
Why does a star explode:
You be the astrophysicist:
Look up what countries make up Asia besides, China, and Japan.
Ask an older family member from your parents’ generation to tell an old family story. Write it down and share it.
Pretend you are an ambassador to the U.N. Research a country to represent. In your research include all the information from page 82 in the text.
How to become a diplomat:
United Nations homepage:
Korean clothing Chloe wore
Look at these pictures of a jeogori (Korean jacket):
Look at these pictures of a hanbok (Korean dress):
Check out the three websites below and then decide if you can pass yourself off as a Korean.
Korean Culture for Kids:
Time for Kids- South Korea:
Korean Culture and language:
Use the directions from the link below to make a group or class aquarium.
Paper plate aquarium:
Texas aquarium clubs:
Look at the different fish on the site below and decide which fish you would put in an aquarium. Remember not all fish play well together.
Types of freshwater fish:
Best pet fish for children:
Koi and koi ponds:
Using the website below see if you can write your name in Korean.
Korean alphabet with English pronunciation:
How to make kimchi:
Do a bean challenge. After watching the video below on how to use chopsticks give everyone dry beans. See who can move the beans using chopsticks the fastest from one container to another.
How to use chopsticks video (5:15):
Make Korean mandu using the recipes below. Have a contest to see who can make the prettiest dumplings.
Recipe for making mandu-Korean dumplings:
How to make wrappers for Korean dumplings (9:10):
How to make bibimbap (12:17):
Chloe says, “I’m good at math. All Koreans are, didn’t you know? Yes, I’m good at sarcasm too.” What is sarcasm? What does Chloe mean? Are all Koreans good at math? Why would someone say this?
Chloe is concerned that her parents don’t talk about Korea. If you were an immigrant would you talk about where you were from and your culture with your family? Explain.
Chloe and Shelley wore ugly football jerseys in 4th grade in order to fit in. Would you wear something you didn’t like to fit in or would you do your own thing? Explain.
All of Chloe’s teachers have always been white. Is it good or bad to have teachers from other races and/or cultures? Explain.
Chloe’s 5th grade teacher makes fun of her name the first two days of school. How would you feel if this happened to you and what would you do about it?
Why does everyone think Chloe knows the new teacher? Is this logical? Explain.
Chloe says, “The thing about Lindsay that’s both horrible and awesome is how she’ll just say whatever she’s really thinking, no matter how annoyed the person she’s talking to might be.” How is this horrible and how is it awesome?
Ms. Lee says, “Global history and personal history aren’t separate things, but always connected.” Explain.
Ms. Lee says, “History is partly about achievements that force people to remember you , and that’s the standard we are going to strive for.” What do you aim to do with your life that will force people to remember you?
Ms. Lee has a disconnect to her heritage. What does this mean?
Adams says, “Asians all have a violin playing gene.” Why would he say this?
Do you agree with the phrase – It’s not bragging if it’s true? Should you still talk about yourself? Explain.
Chloe refers to crying, cleaning her room, and bargaining to get what she wants. What do you do to try to get what you want? How often does it work? Why?
Chloe doesn’t like her neighbor saying, “She looks exotic in her Korean dress.” Is Chloe too sensitive? Explain.
Chloe gets asked how she feels about being the only Korean in her school. How would you feel if you were the only __________ in your school? Explain.
If you didn’t know a lot about your ancestry would you take a DNA test? Why or why not? What does this mean?
Ms. Lee believes Chloe committed plagiarism on her report and doesn’t believe her when Chloe says she got the story from her dad. What would you do if this happened to you?
If you came home from school and your parents informed you that your heritage was made up and you were an alien from another solar system, would you believe them and what would you do and why?
If you licked a fish and your tongue glowed, would you think it was a magic trick? Why do you think this convinced Chloe her parents were telling the truth? Would you start licking fish and use it as a career move in show business?
Chloe’s parents had a hard time passing themselves off as being Korean while living in Korea. What would someone need to be able to do or know to pass themselves off as Americans? Texans?
If someone from another planet came to America, would we lock them up? Do experiments on them? Harass them? Are any of these ethical?
Chloe tells Shelley about being an alien. Would you? Why or why not?
Chloe says, “One of the good things about George Matthew K – 8 School is the library, and the fact that the school actually lets us use it.” Is that a weird statement? Explain.
Chloe thinks, “She didn’t need help with school, she just needed it with life in general.” If you needed help with life in general, what would you do? Where would you go and who would you tell?
Chloe’s librarian thinks, “Science fiction and fantasy can be really useful ways to think about things like racial identity.” How so?
Why would the vice principal think Chloe’s parents have a different cultural perspective? If Chloe was born in America, why do people assume her culture is not American? What makes one’s culture American?
Why does Chloe think, “Everyone is a racist”?
The vice principal says, “our parents” vs. “her parents”. Why isn’t it “our parents”?
Do you think a week’s detention was appropriate punishment for Chloe’s behavior? Explain.
Chloe’s dad says, “Shelley isn’t best friends with you because she’s interested in your Korean ancestry. She’s interested in your Korean ancestry because you’re her best friend.” Explain the difference.
If you were Chloe, would you continue to pretend to be Korean? Why or why not?
Shelley defends Chloe to Lindsay after the friendship breakup. Why?
Shelley and Chloe cement their friendship by recalling the things they helped each other within the past. Tell about some past events which made your best friend special to you.
Chloe has a 100% DNA match with a “South Korean”. If you had a high DNA match, would you make contact? Why or why not?
Book Talk Teasers:
Perform the readers theater.
Show several individual pictures of Asian children from different countries. Ask children to identify which Asian country they are from just from the pictures. Ask students if they assume all Asians come from the same country. Explain this book is about an Asian girl with a identity crisis.
Realistic Fiction, Girls, Family:
Cervantes, Angela. Allie, first at last. Born into a family of over-achievers, fifth-grader Allie Velasco has never finished first in anything, and lately things have been going badly: her science project is ruined by a well-meaning student, her former best friend is hanging out with another girl–but now she is determined to win the Trailblazer contest with a photographic presentation about her great grandfather, the first Congressional Medal of Honor winner from their town. (NoveList)
Realistic Fiction, Girls, Identity, Racist Attitudes:
Shevah, Emma. Dream on, Amber. Abandoned by her father at a young age, half-Japanese, half-Italian middle schooler Amber Miyamoto must dream up a way for her and her sister to make it on their own while making friends at her new school. (NoveList)
Amusing, Science Fiction, Social Issues, Identity:
Oakes, Cory Putman. Dinosaur boy saves Mars. After heroically saving his classmates, fifth-grader Sawyer’s life as a dinosaur-human hybrid has gotten a lot easier until Sawyer, Sylvie, who is part Martian, and Elliot head to Mars in search of Sylvie’s missing dad and discover that Mars is trying to kick Pluto out of the solar system. (NoveList)
Realistic Fiction, Asian American Girls, Friendship Problems:
Yee, Lisa. Millicent Min, girl genius. In a series of journal entries, eleven-year-old child prodigy Millicent Min records her struggles to learn to play volleyball, tutor her enemy, deal with her grandmother’s departure, and make friends over the course of a tumultuous summer. (NoveList)
Amusing, Science Fiction, Aliens, Friendship:
Montgomery, Ross. Perijee & me. Caitlin, the only young person living on Middle Island, finds Perijee, a tiny alien, on the beach and he becomes her secret friend, but Perijee’s rapid growth is a big problem. (NoveList)
Science Fiction, Aliens:
Reeve, Philip. Cakes in space. When ten-year-old Astra and her family move to a new planet, she must save the spaceship and its crew from man-eating cakes, aliens, and more. (NoveList)
Smith, Greg Leitich. Little green men at the Mercury Inn. Two boys race to get an undercover alien back to her mothership while dodging an oddball group of UFO-chasers, TV news people, and Florida retirees. (NoveList)
Trine, Greg. Willy Maykit in space. When Willy Maykit gets stranded on Planet Ed during a class trip to outer space, he’s in for an adventure. But will he be able to outwit the monsters inhabiting Ed and find his way back home? (NoveList)
Funny, Superhero Stories, Science Fiction:
Boniface, William. The return of Meteor Boy? While working on a time machine for the Spring Science Fair, Ordinary Boy discovers the true identity of long-lost Superopolis hero Meteor Boy. (NoveList)
Goldman, Leslie. On the job. When Lizzie’s parents refuse to give her a raise in her allowance, she decides to get an after-school job at her favorite hangout, which turns into more than she bargained for when Kate Sanders and her friends show up to taunt her. (NoveList)
Jensen, Marion. Almost super. Two brothers in a family of superheroes are forced to reexamine everything they knew about being super when the powers they receive are total duds and their enemy is revealed to be just like they are. (NoveList)
Jensen, Marion. Searching for super. Super-powerless Rafter is unable to resist his dream of reclaiming his family’s superhero glory when he is made a dubious secret offer to fight with real superpowers.
Hannan, Peter. Freddy!, deep-space food fighter. Human boy Freddy, king of the planet Flurb and its out-of-this-world characters–including his scheming sister, Babette–finds himself the target of some interplanetary threats. (NoveList)
Hannan, Peter. Freddy!, King of Flurb. Freddy, his jealous sister Babette, and their parents are abducted by slimy aliens and taken to the planet Flurb, where Freddy is made king, much to the dismay of Wizbad. (NoveList)
Funny, Superhero Stories:
Seegert, Scott. How to grow up and rule the world. Attention, puny, undeserving whelps! I, Vordak the Incomprehensible, deign to bestow my limitless knowledge of world domination techniques upon you! (You should know that, should you actually one day rule the world, I will be your automatic and highly untrustworthy second-in-command…) Read this book and use my ingeniously diabolical plans, my advice on what to wear as a Supervillain, and my Inconceivably Evil Name Generator as your first steps toward ultimate control of the planet. (Or, if you aren’t quite evil enough, you can just laugh at my blowhard manner and many disgusting jokes…at your own risk.) Muah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! — Description by Ellen Foreman. (NoveList)
Seegert, Scott. Rule the school. When one of his experiments makes supervillain Vordak the Incomprehensible younger, he comes out of retirement to launch his latest attempt to defeat Commander Virtue and rule the world, starting with Farding Junior High School. (NoveList)
Solomons, David. My brother is a superhero. Eleven-year-old Luke, a hardcore fan of comics and superheroes, is jealous when his undeserving older brother Zack is zapped by an alien and turned into a superhero, until a plot to destroy the Earth incapacitates Zack, and Luke, accompanied by Lara, the nosey girl next door, must come to the rescue. (NoveList)
Superheroes, Schools, Identity:
Anderson, John David. Sidekicked. Thirteen-year-old superhero sidekick-in-training Drew “The Sensationalist” Bean must overcome his not-so-superpowers and become the hero everyone needs when a supervillain, The Dealer, returns to Justicia. (NoveList)
Funny, Science Fiction, Superheroes, Robots:
Wilson, Daniel H. How to survive a robot uprising: tips on defending yourself against the coming rebellion. Presents a humorous guide to battling mutinous robots, including tips for deactivating rebel servant robots and escaping from a murderous “smart” house. (NoveList)
Funny, Superhero Stories,Schools:
Ferraiolo, Jack D. Sidekicks. Batman has Robin, Wonder Woman has Wonder Girl, and Phantom Justice has Bright Boy, a.k.a. Scott Hutchinson, an ordinary middle schooler by day and Justice’s super-fast, super-strong sidekick by night. Life isn’t easy for Bright Boy…especially after an embarrassing incident involving his tight spandex costume makes him the laughingstock of New York City. And, even worse, B.B. is starting to see signs that his boss may not be entirely on the up-and-up. — Description by Ellen Foreman. (NoveList)
Amusing, Science Fiction, Aliens, Friendship:
Kloepfer, John. Into the dorkness. Kevin and his science camp buddies, The Extraordinary Terrestrials, defeated the alien Mim and sent him back to prison–but now a group of his friends have shown up in spaceships, bent on revenge, and it is up the Extraordinary Terrestrials to find a way to defeat the invaders. (NoveList)
School Library Journal
JUNG, Mike. Unidentified Suburban Object. 272p. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Bks. May 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780545782265; ebk. $16.99. ISBN 9780545782289.
Gr 4-6 –Chloe Cho is curious about her cultural heritage. Her parents were born in Korea but never speak of their time or families there, no matter how often Chloe asks. The only Asian American in her school, Chloe is excited when her new history teacher is also Korean, but alarmed to learn of an assignment where she needs to interview her parents to share a family story. She is finally able to convince her father to tell her one but receives an F on the assignment and is accused of plagiarism. When Chloe confronts her father, showing him a website that retells the account he claimed happened to his uncle, he must finally tell her the truth. A game-changing family secret is revealed that alters Chloe’s perception of herself and the genre of the novel. Jung spends a lot of time hammering home how unwilling Chloe’s parents are to speak of their past, making their secret a very welcome and original surprise and giving the novel some needed energy. Chloe’s response to her parents’ news ripples into every corner of her life. Furious she’s been lied to, she rebels against not only her parents but her friends and teachers as well. While Chloe herself is a gifted student, the book has enough twists and humor to broaden the audience to include reluctant readers. VERDICT Part realistic fiction and part fantasy, this novel takes a hilariously unpredictable turn that will stun and ignite readers.–Juliet Morefield, Multnomah County Library, OR. Reprinted with permission from School Library Journal, Copyright 2016.
Booklist (March 1, 2016 (Vol. 112, No. 13))
Unidentified Suburban Object. Jung, Mike (author). Apr. 2016. 272p. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, hardcover, $16.99 (9780545782265); Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, e-book, $16.99 (9780545782289). Grades 3-6. REVIEW. First published March 1, 2016 (Booklist).
The only Asian American at her school, Chloe Cho has learned to deal with remarks about her skills at violin playing and general academic work. Still, she can count on Shelley, her longtime best friend, to see beyond her cultural identity. At the beginning of seventh grade, their new social studies teacher doesn’t just share Korean heritage with Chloe, they even like the same K-pop group. But an assignment to interview a parent and record a family story precipitates a crisis that lands Chloe in the principal’s office at school and, worse, in a painful argument with Shelley. This well-paced chapter book portrays classroom dynamics and middle-school relationships perceptively. Chloe’s lively, agreeable voice makes her a spokesperson for every kid who has ever felt like an outsider, and her wry first-person narrative makes this fly by, while still offering plenty to think about. A startling revelation midway through the story will create some buzz among readers, while making this a slam- dunk choice for booktalkers willing to divulge the spoiler.— Carolyn Phelan. (Used with the permission of Booklist)