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Open Mic: Riffs on Life Between Cultures in…
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Open Mic: Riffs on Life Between Cultures in Ten Voices

by Mitali Perkins (Editor)

Other authors: Cherry Cheva (Contributor), Varian Johnson (Contributor), G. Neri (Contributor), Naomi Shihab Nye (Contributor), Mitali Perkins (Contributor)5 more, Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich (Contributor), Debbie Rigaud (Contributor), Francisco X. Stork (Contributor), Gene Luen Yang (Contributor), David Yoo (Contributor)

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Great short stories about what it is like to be from a different culture. Would be a good read for Anne's service learning project on diversity in literature. ( )
  amydelpo | Dec 9, 2014 |
This is actually a very slim book; the ten selections are each quite short, so it's best enjoyed as tiny tastes. In that mode it works very well. Each piece had pleasing and unique element in it that contributed to the theme of life between cultures. Here's a peek at my favorite moments in each:

David Yoo: "Becoming Henry Lee." I laughed out loud when titular character's parents couldn't keep straight the white actors in a movie and "were convinced the movie was a psychological thriller about one white guy who had multiple personalities warring each other in his head."

Gene Luen Yang: "Why I Won't Be Watching the Last Airbender Movie." Done as a comic, this nonfiction piece recapped the controversy when the human-acted Last Airbender came out--with the protagonists white-washed. It has a happy ending: thanks to his protest, Gene Luen Yang got offered a chance to create graphic novels in the Avatar: The Last Airbender universe.

Cherry Cheva: "Talent Show." Enjoyed the logic behind why Gretchen, an ultra-nervous would-be comedian, turns down Josh's proffered date.

Debbie Rigau: "Voila!" Loved Simone's change of heart regarding bossy, clueless Waverly when Waverly points out that Simone can get credit for acting as an interpreter for Haitian-Creole-speaking patients at the little clinic they're both visiting--Simone accompanying her aunt and Waverly as part of their high school's volunteer program.

Mitali Perkins: "Three-Pointer." It can be annoying, if you're dark skinned, to constantly have your skin color compared to foods like chocolate or coffee. Mitali Perkins gets a dig in, comparing pale European skin tones to deli-sliced turkey, which made me laugh because it's so precisely accurate. (I also was happy to learn the meaning of the name "Mitali": friendly.)

Varian Johnson: "Like Me." Initially, Griffin's the only black student at his high school. The degree to which everyone pays attention to him during black history month was painfully hilarious.

Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich: "Confessions of a Black Geek." Racism comes to the surface when the high-achieving narrator gets into colleges that her white classmates are rejected from. It was painful to see it happen but heartening to see the narrator embrace her accomplishments.

G. Neri: "Under Berlin." Told in verse, this contribution was one of my favorites, because it showed diversity not only within the narrator's family (black dad, Hispanic mom), but in Germany, where the family is living. The changing makeup of the subway car the family rides, and the concluding lines of the story, were beautiful.

Francisco X. Stork: "Brotherly Love." A really delicately told story of an older brother's support of his younger brother in the face of a father who has very rigid, traditional notions of gender and masculinity. I liked when Rosalinda, the older sister, shares what Bernie, the older brother, said in support of Luis: "God made all kinds of Mexican guys."

Naomi Shihab Nye: "Lexicon." Another tale--or tribute, really--in verse, a lovely portrait of the narrator's father. We need, the narrator says, words with hems and pockets, words like umbrella, flashlight, milk, pencil, blizzard, song.

A lovely bouquet, and I'll look for longer works from the contributors. ( )
  FrancescaForrest | May 12, 2014 |
This is actually a very slim book; the ten selections are each quite short, so it's best enjoyed as tiny tastes. In that mode it works very well. Each piece had pleasing and unique element in it that contributed to the theme of life between cultures. Here's a peek at my favorite moments in each:

David Yoo: "Becoming Henry Lee." I laughed out loud when titular character's parents couldn't keep straight the white actors in a movie and "were convinced the movie was a psychological thriller about one white guy who had multiple personalities warring each other in his head."

Gene Luen Yang: "Why I Won't Be Watching the Last Airbender Movie." Done as a comic, this nonfiction piece recapped the controversy when the human-acted Last Airbender came out--with the protagonists white-washed. It has a happy ending: thanks to his protest, Gene Luen Yang got offered a chance to create graphic novels in the Avatar: The Last Airbender universe.

Cherry Cheva: "Talent Show." Enjoyed the logic behind why Gretchen, an ultra-nervous would-be comedian, turns down Josh's proffered date.

Debbie Rigau: "Voila!" Loved Simone's change of heart regarding bossy, clueless Waverly when Waverly points out that Simone can get credit for acting as an interpreter for Haitian-Creole-speaking patients at the little clinic they're both visiting--Simone accompanying her aunt and Waverly as part of their high school's volunteer program.

Mitali Perkins: "Three-Pointer." It can be annoying, if you're dark skinned, to constantly have your skin color compared to foods like chocolate or coffee. Mitali Perkins gets a dig in, comparing pale European skin tones to deli-sliced turkey, which made me laugh because it's so precisely accurate. (I also was happy to learn the meaning of the name "Mitali": friendly.)

Varian Johnson: "Like Me." Initially, Griffin's the only black student at his high school. The degree to which everyone pays attention to him during black history month was painfully hilarious.

Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich: "Confessions of a Black Geek." Racism comes to the surface when the high-achieving narrator gets into colleges that her white classmates are rejected from. It was painful to see it happen but heartening to see the narrator embrace her accomplishments.

G. Neri: "Under Berlin." Told in verse, this contribution was one of my favorites, because it showed diversity not only within the narrator's family (black dad, Hispanic mom), but in Germany, where the family is living. The changing makeup of the subway car the family rides, and the concluding lines of the story, were beautiful.

Francisco X. Stork: "Brotherly Love." A really delicately told story of an older brother's support of his younger brother in the face of a father who has very rigid, traditional notions of gender and masculinity. I liked when Rosalinda, the older sister, shares what Bernie, the older brother, said in support of Luis: "God made all kinds of Mexican guys."

Naomi Shihab Nye: "Lexicon." Another tale--or tribute, really--in verse, a lovely portrait of the narrator's father. We need, the narrator says, words with hems and pockets, words like umbrella, flashlight, milk, pencil, blizzard, song.

A lovely bouquet, and I'll look for longer works from the contributors. ( )
  FrancescaForrest | May 12, 2014 |
Read for Bookstore Explore Assignment
  shaemakay | Dec 8, 2013 |
A collection of short stories from a number of young adult authors dealing with growing up between cultures. There poetry entries from G. Neri and Naomi Shihab Nye and a graphic short story from Gene Yang. A quick read with many satisfying, thought provoking stories. ( )
  ewyatt | Aug 27, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Perkins, MitaliEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cheva, CherryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Johnson, VarianContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Neri, G.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nye, Naomi ShihabContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Perkins, MitaliContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rhuday-Perkovich, OlugbemisolaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rigaud, DebbieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stork, Francisco X.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Yang, Gene LuenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Yoo, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0763658669, Hardcover)

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, simply by sitting quietly between two uptight 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 poignant, in prose, poetry, and comic form.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:28 -0400)

Shares stories about growing up in diverse homes or communities, from an Asian youth who gains temporary popularity by making up a false background, to a biracial girl whose father clears subway seats by calmly sitting between two prejudiced women.

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