A Step from Heaven

by An Na

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<i>A Step from Heaven</i>

This is the story of a Korean family that immigrates to California in search of a better life, only to find that the American Dream is harder to achieve than they thought. The tale is told through the eyes of Young Ju, as she grows from preschooler to young woman.

Enrichment Activities
Internet Resources
Books for Asian-American History Month

Enrichment Activities

    Topic for Discussion
  • As a class or in small groups, have your students discuss the complex questions raised by immigration. What would make an individual, family, or group of people leave their homeland and seek to establish a new life in another country? Ask them to imagine what immigration would feel like. What kinds of problems might be encountered in the process? (Consider language/communication, cultural and religious differences, ethnic and racial intolerance.)

    Research: Getting Inside the Author's Head
  • A Step from Heaven is semi-autobiographical. Ask students to research the author's life and find parallels between An Na and Young Ju. They can begin their research using the biographical websites listed below. They should then report where they found similarities and where they found differences. Discuss why the author might have chosen to include or change certain aspects of her life.

    Conflict Dissection
  • Ask students to use the Conflict Dissection graphic organizer to explore one of the many conflicts described in the novel. They should identify the characters involved in the conflict, and analyze the setting, problem, and solution.

    "Being Too American"
  • Young Ju's father takes her to task for "being too American." Have your students use short phrases to describe characteristics that Young Ju considers American and those she considers Korean. Do they agree with Young Ju? What characteristics would students add to each list, based on their own observations of Americans and their reading of this book?

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