Using humor as the common denominator, a multicultural cast of YA authors steps up to the mic to share stories touching on race.
Listen in as ten YA authors -- some familiar, some new -- use their own brand of humor to share their stories about growing up between cultures. Henry Choi Lee discovers that pretending to be a tai chi master or a sought-after wiz at math wins him friends for a while -- until it comically backfires. A biracial girl is amused when her dad clears seats for his family on a crowded subway in under a minute flat, simply by sitting quietly in between two uptight white women. Edited by acclaimed author and speaker Mitali Perkins, this collection of fiction and nonfiction uses a mix of styles as diverse as their authors, from laugh-out-loud funny to wry, ironic, or poingnant, in prose, poetry, and comic form.
Grades 5-8. In this anthology that blends fiction and nonfiction, Indian American editor Perkins has assembled 10 original selections about race that have in common a humorous take on an often serious subject. Humor has the power to break down barriers and draw us together across borders, Perkins writes in her introduction. Aside from their humor, these border-breaking stories all share a viewpoint from within the culture that provides the setting and subject. The stories are varied in format: two—by G. Neri and Naomi Shihab Nye—are stories in verse, while a third, by Printz Award–winner Gene Luen Yang, is in the format of a graphic novel. Several of the stories come perilously close to being didactic, but all are, in their respective ways, enlightening. As for humor, David Yoo’s excellent Becoming Henry Lee is the one that will probably elicit the most laughs. But all invite sometimes rueful smiles or chuckles of recognition. And all demonstrate that in the specific we find the universal, and that borders are meant to be breached.