Juna's Jar

By Publishers Weekly

A girl named Juna gets significant mileage—in more ways than one—out of an empty jar of kimchi in Bahk’s debut, which won the publisher’s New Voices Award. Juna is distraught after her friend Hector moves away suddenly; to cheer her up, her brother gets her a small fish, which she keeps in her jar. At night, “when everyone else was asleep,” Juna joins the fish on an imaginary underwater journey, and in the morning, “Juna’s fish had grown so big its mouth nearly touched its tail.” This surprising development sets the state for subsequent “was it really just a dream?” adventures, which eventually let Juna make peace with Hector’s absence. Hoshino (Sora and the Cloud) contributes warm watercolors, dominated by pale yellows and greens, that bring Juna’s nighttime sojourns to full life—in the final one, she dons aviator goggles and flies over a bustling city on the back of a cricket. Despite the elements of magical realism interwoven with the plot, Bahk never loses sight of the very real emotions that drive her pensive, curious, and openhearted heroine.