The Sun is Also a Star: Who are you in this universe? By: Yumin Kim

The Sun is Also a Star: Who are you in this universe?


By: Yumin Kim


BY: NASA, ESA, and A. Nota (STScI/ESA)


“Carl Sagan said that if you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe… To make a thing as simple as an apple pie, you have to create the whole wide world.” Nicola Yoon starts The Sun is Also a Star with a quote from carl Sagan.  


This prologue creates a sense connectivity of everything in the universe. We are part of a larger something. Connection gives people happiness. Isolation, whether called upon by themselves or not, brings sadness, and loneliness. People need to be connected with others to be happy whatever the situation is, maybe even that it can also save people’s lives.


Everything is connected in this world.


The story starts out with two different characters, Natasha and Daniel. Natasha Kingsley is Jamaican, and she is an undocumented immigrant. Daniel is korean and is an immigrant. It is the day when Natasha is being deported, the day Daniel is going for his admission interview for Yale, which his parent forced him to. They end up in the same destination, the USCIS building. Natasha believes in facts and numbers, while Daniel believes in destiny and love. These two characters, though very different, meet and feel love for each other. The two characters change throughout the story.


Natasha isolates herself from the world. She does this by always wearing her headphones and she does not create new relationships.

Daniel believes in destiny, love, and art. But he has to conceal it because of his surrounding people.


The Sun is Also a star, however, is not just a love story of two kids who are very different. It demonstrates a bigger meaning, a message that connection to the world is very important.


The amount of detail that goes in each plot point is so intricate that it is interesting to track how the story progresses and how different plot points connect.



Another character in The Sun is Also a star is Irene, a security guard at the USCIS building. Who is Irene? How is she connected to Natasha and Daniel’s relationship? Irene’s story might seem trivial at first, but towards the end, she is an important part of this love story. [SPOILER!!] …


Interconnectedness is also shown through a minor character, Irene who is depressed and desperate for someone to notice her. She thinks breaking would be better than living and not having thank living with wanting. Yes, she decides to commit suicide. But a small act of kindness, just one small act from Natasha gives Irene the courage to ask for help. Irene is saved. Natasha probably will never know, she will never realize she has saved someone’s life by showing an act of kindness.


How much do we realize that our everyday actions affect other people? Most of the time, we do not realize how our small actions affect others, whether they are kind or offensive. But what is important, is that our smallest action can have a big effect on other people and in that way, all of us, we are connected.


This connection gives the Irene to call for help. Irene decides to follow her dream of a flight attendant and lives happily. Irene finishes the story by showing the real connection between people in the world.


After Natasha and Daniel separate, they go on with their lives and on one of Irene’s flight she notices Natasha a just a few seats away, she sees Daniel. As how people say, “it is a small world.” A person that you met for a few minutes can be the person to change your life.


Through the story, we see a change in Natasha and at the very end we actually see how she changed. Through the connection of Natasha and Daniel that changes them for the rest of their lives.


“She finds a family of friends. She learns to like and then to love the country of her birth. It’s not that Natasha wants to let Daniel go; it’s that she has to… She lets go of Daniel to avoid being ripped apart.”


Natasha does not live in her world by herself anymore. She learns how to be part of something and learn to let things go for her happiness.


As for Daniel,


“Daniel finishes high school but declines Yale. He moves out of his parents’ house, works two jobs, and attends Hunter college part-time. It’s not that Daniel wants to let Natasha go… But he hears the strain in her voice across the distance.”


Daniel refuses his parents’ expectations for being a doctor, but follows his passion of poetry.


Natasha and Daniel were able to change their lives through the connection with each other, making them happier in the moment.


We all want to be by ourselves sometimes. We all have complaints to the universe sometimes. But do you realize how important you are in this world and to everyone in this world?


As Nicola Yoon said, “I really think we’re all connected, and if we could slow down and take the time we’d be able to see it.”


Hope on the Transcontinental Railroad By Yumin Kim

August 10, 1896

I pushed the dump carts, pulled by horses, filled to the top with rock debris. Others, I saw them clear the paths of rock.

The air was filled with the cold scent of metal.

It was some continuous work, day by day, moving forward.

It was the transcontinental railroad.

After a few weeks, the manager calls me, Chen, you can start clearing the roadbed.

I can feel the bottom of my shoes getting thinner from all the laborious work.

When I first came here, I saw many foreigners, who looked so different from me, the Irish, German, and from England.

Everything seemed so different, strange. I felt a big hole in me, an empty space. And while sat down to take a break, I would take a picture and stare at it for a long time, smiling unconsciously, looking at the smiling face of my son and daughter, seeing their silly faces, and seeing the smile on my wife.

Immigrants like me never really spent time with others.

Was it how we looked different.

Or was it the different accent we had that separated us.

I could even feel the difference in their eyes, looking at us, like we were some dangerous people. I work with the thought of meeting my kids at the end, and my wife. This journey would be long. I am waiting, waiting for the day when our hopes become reality, the day when our family would not have to live in the fear of starving, or the fear of poverty.

The first friend I met since I am came to America was a man named Wang.

He was one enthusiastic man, always with an amiable smile on his face.

He would always talk about his daughters, with bright eyes like him and all of the fun pranks he did on them.

I could always see the hope in his eyes, bright and warm.


August 21, 1896

This was not a home. It was not the home like in my homeland with my children and my family, the small one, but warm.

It was dark, dry, rocky, and sandy, each day I would wake up with a dry throat, craving for water. Many of us lived in the underground tunnels, all tired with exhausted arms and legs.

We woke up one night, one of the nights among several repetitive days, by the rumbling sounds of the tunnel.

As I looked around in the dark, I felt tiny pebbles trickle down and hit my shoulders. We heard more rumbling sounds as more people in the tunnel woke up. The sounds were getting louder and louder.

Suddenly, we all realised that there was a rock avalanche, starting to crumble down the tunnel sides, slowly getting larger and larger. I ran as fast I could, dragging the painful legs that I did not know if they could hold up my body anymore.

I ran out, desperate for my life.

Several possibilities of death whipped past my head. I had to meet my kids again, bring back a better life, for them. I saw the open sky of darkness outside and turned back to notice what had happened behind me. The tunnel had collapsed. I looked around finding some people, huffing and all sweaty.

I kept looking around, trying to find something, it felt like something was missing, until I realized not everyone had escaped the tunnel.

He was still inside, the one enthusiastic man, always with an amiable smile on his face.

I missed Wang, I couldn’t talk about my family anymore, I couldn’t listen to his funny stories about pranking his daughters.

One thing I did know was that he was the best dad, friend, husband, and I will never forget the bright smile he had on his face.

September 23, 1896

I still remember the last day we saw our husband, dad, our hero.

The day that seemed like a last resort, but a new beginning, a new hope.

That day, we all went out as a family, first in a long time.

Where are we going? Our son said excited.

We are going to take a family photo, Chen said. We had never taken photos before, and I smiled in excited, as the kids laughed with him.

Maybe it was the happiness in our family, maybe it was because it could be the last.

Everything looked more beautiful than ever. The sky was such a beautiful blue, with bits of cloud, all different sizes. The breeze was so warm, but cool to the skin, shaking the leaves on the trees.

When we got to the photo shop, we were ordered sit on a bench with a grey background.

Smile. Said the person with the camera. I noticed until now, I had always lived without freedom, Always caught in the thought of going to each day.

But today, it was the first time my smile was real, full of real happiness.

That night, we sat around the table, eating dinner. It was a very quiet meal. As the time for letting Chen go, the more fretful I felt.

I kept bringing it back in my head. It is not the last, it is not a last. My thought continued to bring it back no matter how much I try.

But what if?

I notice myself asking a thousand of these what if questions.

You don’t have to worry he said.

I still remember that day, that day when Chen stood on the threshold of our house, saying goodbye, saying, I will definitely be with you again.

Goal Setting

WHICH ME WILL I BE?(Goal setting/ Reflection/ Strategic Plan) 

One strength is that I work collaboratively with my classmates when making projects.

Another strength is that I can find information and arrange it in a way that is helpful for me with the different ideas.


 To improve, I think I could read more and think about the deep ideas.

GOAL/ GOALS: (Realistic, Action steps, Measure, Checkpoints, Specific/ Targeted goal): 

 My goal is to read more each day and to think of the deeper meanings.

 My goal is to contribute more ideas to the group.


Leave some time at the end of the day so that I can read more.
Have more ideas prepared so that I can contribute.

Always remind myself of the deeper thinking.

I am accurate when it comes to measuring things or recording data.

I can understand the contents of the unit pretty well.


One area of growth is that I’m not always talking so much during class. 

GOAL/ GOALS: (Realistic, Action steps, Measure, Checkpoints, Specific/ Targeted goal): 

My goal is to check on the units from before so that I can remember the contents.

My goal is to talk more during class.

I could flip through my notebook once in awhile and read my notes.
 I could raise my hand more often during class if I have an idea.

I could go back to my vocabulary bank and check my understanding.
I can understand the problem and can find a strategy to solve it.
I can explain my work and why I did it.


 Reading the problems more carefully because I sometimes misread the numbers.

GOAL/ GOALS: (Realistic, Action steps, Measure, Checkpoints, Specific/ Targeted goal): 

To use my notebook not just to solve problems.

To make sure and read the problem accurately.

 I can use my notebook during class by taking notes for the contents.
 I can reread the problems over.

I can make sure if my answers make sense after solving it.



 I think I’m doing well on writing sentences in French.


I think I need to talk more in class when we are going over things.

GOAL/ GOALS: (Realistic, Action steps, Measure, Checkpoints, Specific/ Targeted goal): 

My goal is to work on understanding oral comprehension.

My goal is to be able to read more in French.


 Raise my hand more often when we are translating phrases or sentences.

 Taking books in French home and practicing reading them.

Listening to more French can help me with understanding French.
I put effort into moving forward in the activities that we do.

I improved on my fitness level a little bit.


 I think I need to improve my fitness skills and running.

GOAL/ GOALS: (Realistic, Action steps, Measure, Checkpoints, Specific/ Targeted goal): 

My goal is to increase the time I can run.

My goal is to show more improvement with the number of fitness exercises.


I can practice running at home and slowly increase the time I can run.

I can practice curl ups, push ups, and other exercises.

I could also work on my flexibility at home and it could help me with other exercises.




Yumin Spends Time with her Sister at Doré Doré Cafe

Yumin spends time with her sister at Doré Doré Cafe.

It was the day that Hyeamin, Yumin’s sister had planned. A special cafe called Doré Doré cafe, in Sinsa dong. The cafe had many different rainbow cakes. Yumin was very excited about it because the cafe was famous for being a unique and special cafe.

The first floor with pink walls and shiny tables.

The Uniqueness of the Cafe 

The whole building was pink with a name on the side called Doré Doré. Inside, there were three floors: the first floor was pink, the second floor was blue and orange, and the underground floor was purple. The sun shining on the clear glass tables were sparkling with colours. The sun made the tables shine with rainbow colours. Other tables were painted with so many different colours. 


There were many different types of layered cakes such as, rainbow cakes and strawberry cakes. They ordered a four layered red velvet cake with cream in between, sparkling juice, Peppermint tea, and coffee. Yumin did not enjoy the peppermint tea because it was too minty. Also, since the background wall and the sunlight was so pretty, they took lots of photos together on the different colours of the background.

Time with Yumin’s Family

Since there is an eight year different between Yumin and Hyeamin, now, it was hard for Yumin to see her sister often. When she went back to Korea for the holidays, she was excited to spend time with her. And spending time at this cafe was a fun and a meaningful experience for them.

Artifacts Project

For this project, we had to choose a artifacts from one of the four ancient civilisations and explain why the artifacts is a voice of the River valley. I chose to research about the Pashupati seal. I was able to find many different and interesting facts about it. I filmed a video of myself talking about why the artifacts is a voice of the River valley and I made a plaque of a brief information about it.


Me + Organization

My strengths

One of the strengths that I have for organisation is that I use my agenda for writing my homework for every class daily. When I go home, it helps me remember my homework for all of the classes. I also use google classroom for checking my to-do list. I useually check google classroom the most because it is very easy to check the things that I have to do. Another strength is that I think of when I have to do my homework. I like to do it before dinner and if I can’t finish it by then, I would finish it after.

Areas for growth

One of the areas for growth is to think about what kind of homework I would do. For example, I would do the homework that is due the next day before the other homework that I have to do. This would help me do all of my homework easily in time. Also I want to use my tiny calendar more often because usually, I don’t use tiny calendar and I only use my agenda and my google classroom.


One goal I have is to check tiny calendar more often and to check it daily for more accurate data about the homework that I have.