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Unidentified Suburban Object

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about the book



Chloe Cho is the only Asian American in her school. She’s tired of people thinking that everything she does well (i.e. good grades, winning first chair in orchestra, etc…) is because she’s Asian.

That reasoning is so faulty—she doesn’t even know anything about her Korean heritage!

Chloe’s parents refuse to answer all of her questions relating to Korea, so she sometimes looks up information online. Through trial and error, she discovered that Korean dumplings are harder to make than the recipe lets on. But articles and recipes can only tell her so much. They don’t give her any insight into her family’s story.

When a Korean American teacher comes to town, Chloe is excited…until she needs one of her parents to share a family story for an assignment.

Who knew learning about one’s cultural heritage could be so traumatic? Chloe definitely didn’t.teachingbooks-book

about the author

mike-jungAt the beginning of his middle grade years, Mike Jung was an overachieving introvert who read as many books as he could. Then his family moved from California to New Jersey, becoming one of the few Asian American families in the area. During sixth grade, Mike was moved up to seventh grade and things went downhill: his grades plummeted and the bullying increased. Books became essential to his survival.

Mike’s favorite superhero was Spider-Man because they were both angsty teenagers who were social outcasts and bookworms.

You’d never guess that Mike is an introvert dealing with social anxiety by looking at his online persona though—many people who meet him online think he’s a loud, goofy extrovert! But if they meet him in person, they realize he’s actually much more reserved.

Before he began writing, Mike’s creative outlet was music: singing, playing the ukulele and guitar, and writing songs. He still plays when he can, but doesn’t have the time to go to open mic nights anymore. Interestingly, Mike is part of his literary agency’s band called Erin Murphy’s Dog. They play a bunch of covers and original tunes once a year at their annual retreat.

Mike is a librarian by day who helped found the We Need Diverse Books movement.

He lives in Oakland, California with his wife and two children.

Author website
Author interview: School Library Journal
Author interview: From the Mixed-Up Files
Author interview: YA Book Central

Also by Mike Jung:
Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities. Arthur A. Levine Books. 2012.teachingbooks-author

read more!

geeks girls and secret identities


Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities by Mike Jung
Vincent is the biggest fan of real-life, local superhero Captain Stupendous, but lately things have seemed… off for the Captain. After a battle with a giant robot, in which the Captain saves Vincent, Vincent finds out that his crush, Polly, has somehow been given Captain Stupendous’ powers. She doesn’t know how to use them, but Vincent thinks he can help her. Maybe take her on a date, too?



listen slowly


Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai
Mai’s grandmother wants to go back to Vietnam, hoping to find out what happened to her husband during the war. Mai is fine with that, until her parents tell her that she must give up all her summer plans and accompany her grandmother. But her fuming slowly wanes as this strange country and her strange relatives with their strange customs begins to grow on her.





Project Mulberry by Linda Sue Park
As part of the Wiggle (Work-Grow-Give-Live) Club, Julia Song and her neighbor Patrick need a project for the state fair. When Julia’s mother suggests raising silkworms, like she did back in Korea, Patrick is excited, but Julia isn’t so thrilled. It’s too Korean; she’d rather work on something more American. Will Julia get on board with the project?