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Topic: Request for Multicultural Literature

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Subject: Request for Multicultural Literature
Date Posted: 11/9/2008 6:29 AM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 573
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Hello All,

I posted this request in YA and unfortunately  I'm not getting much response.  I am  looking for multicultural fiction and poetry. If you have recommendations and especially if you have desired titles among your offerings, please let me know. And by multicultural, I do not mean African-American authors. I are looking for island writers, Asian, Middle Eastern, Indian, Native American and African and any other ethnicity you can think of. I work with young girls and women. I prefer works with strong female leads.

 

 

Thanks,

L

 

Date Posted: 11/9/2008 8:53 AM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2008
Posts: 364
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LaTonya,

I would recommend any of Amy Tan's books.  I think she's first generation American but her family is from China and all of her books are stories of Chinese.  All of the main characters are women, also.  They include The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God's Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses, and The Bonesetter's Daughter.   

Another is Jhumpa Larhiri who wrote The Namesake.  The main character is a young male but it's a wonderful story.  She also wrote a collection of short stories, The Interpreter of Maladies, and has a new book out now, The Unaccustomed Earth.  I think she was actually born in 
England but she's of Indian descent.

Another that I've read recently is When the Elephants Dance by Tess Uriza Holthe.  It's the story of a young boy and his family who live in the Philippines during WWII.  It was a really good story.  The author might be Philippino-American but I'm not sure..she might have been born in the Philippines.

Middle eastern would be covered by Khaled Hosseini who wrote The Kite Runner and The Thousand Splendid Suns.  Both great books taking place in Afghanistan.  Hosseini was actually born in Kabul, Afghanistan but now lives in the U.S.

You didn't mention Australia but I'll throw in a good Aussie author for good measure.  Markus Zusak actually writes books that are marketed in the US as YA.  I've read both The Book Thief and I Am the Messenger.  The Book Thief is my all-time favorite book and does indeed have a strong female lead.  It's a heartbreaking, beautiful story that takes place in Germany during WWII.  I Am the Messenger takes place in Australia.

In addition, I'm currently reading Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami.  He's a Japanese author and this is the first of his books I've read.  So far it's wonderful.

At the moment, that all I can think of.  Hope this helps!!

Subject: Thanks, Connie
Date Posted: 11/9/2008 12:06 PM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 573
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My daughter read Kite Runner and enjoyed it. I read A Thousand Splendid Suns. Enjoyed and added it to our community library. Will check out the others.

 

 

Date Posted: 11/9/2008 12:33 PM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2007
Posts: 357
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Amy Tan is an awesome author - love her books.  I also have another good book on my shelf called  A Step from Heaven about a Korean family that emigrates to the US and the cultural problems the family goes through. 

I'd be willing to give you The Bonestter by Amy Tan and A Step from Heaven for one credit if you're interested.  PM me.



Last Edited on: 11/9/08 12:38 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/10/2008 2:09 PM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 573
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Thanks Teri,

I'm waiting for books to be marked received. I hope to contact you soon. I read and enjoyed A Step From Heaven by An Na. She has a second novel now. Have you read her?



Last Edited on: 11/10/08 3:18 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/11/2008 7:36 AM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2007
Posts: 357
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I haven't read An Na's second novel yet, but I loved A Step from Heaven.  

I would like to say that I admire your work and if I come across any other books in my foraging (I do a lot of thrift shopping and have other sources for books) I will keep you in mind.  Let me know if there are specific authors or books you are interested in and I will keep an eye out for them.

Date Posted: 11/11/2008 11:50 AM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 4,979
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I have The Cay and Timothy of the Cay on my shelf, and would be happy to offer both for 1 credit.

Date Posted: 11/11/2008 5:53 PM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 573
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Thanks Sheryl,

I'd like to read this first. I work with girls and not sure if they would get into this.

Thanks Terri,

I'm always looking for books by:

Sharon Draper

Jacqueline Woodson

Eloise Greenfield

Walter Dean Myers

Sharon Flake

Christopher Paul Curtis

These authors have several titles. There are single title authors I'd like as well. Will list them on my profile soon.

Date Posted: 11/11/2008 9:08 PM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2007
Posts: 357
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LaTonya,

I will keep an eye out for some of those authors....   I'll let you know if I come across any of them.

 

Date Posted: 11/11/2008 10:30 PM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 573
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Thanks,

Date Posted: 11/15/2008 11:36 AM ET
Member Since: 4/17/2008
Posts: 11
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Sherman Alexie for Native American fiction. He's one of my favorites. I enjoyed Daughter of Fortune by Isabelle Allende. Wild Swans by Jung Chang was something I read in high school and it had a big impact on me.

Date Posted: 11/15/2008 4:55 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,537
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Sherman Alexie does have great novels about Native Americans, unfortunately I can't think of too many women in his work.  The ones in the books tend to be strong like the Indian women I know here in New Mexico.  I could probably find you some used copies of his books here pretty easily.   Let me know if you would like me to call around to the bookstores.

I thought My Year of Meats (American in Japan)  was really interesting and my niece who's 17 enjoyed it, too.  How the Garcia Girls lost their accents and In the time of the Butterflies are great books about sisters from Dominican Republic, very fun and very moving stories.   I also have Daughter of Persia (Iran), The Gate to Women's Country (scifi but very strong on women running the show after the big apocalypse), Moonlight on the avenue of Faith (India), Paradise (Toni Morrison), Stones from the River (Germany)  Turning Japanese (about a Japanese American guy and his american wife who are learning to live in Japan), Women of Sand and Myrrh (Arab Women), and probably a few others I could post. 

If you are interested in some of these PM me and I will ship them to you without credits. 

Date Posted: 11/16/2008 4:02 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2006
Posts: 830
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LaTonya, What age girls do you work with?   I ask because the authors you mentioned are quite a step down in reading level than say, Amy Tan and others.  I work w/ students in intermediate grades, so I'm familiar w/ the authors you mentioned.  My students absolutely adored The Skin I"m In by Sharon Flake and The Watson's Go to Birmingham by Paul Curtis ?. 

I'm PMing you.

Date Posted: 11/16/2008 8:51 PM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 573
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Jan,

I run the library as well as Color Online. Not all of my readers read at grade level. Girls range from elementary to early adulthood. I work more closely with older teens and I have less trouble finding reads for them. I'd like to build our elementary and middle school more. I don't read enough for this age group.

I've read both books and we have them. Thanks for your pm.

Sarah,

Love Alexi! Have you read The Absolute Diary of A Part-time Indian? I lean towards women writers and characters, but girls will read guys, too.

Pam,

I rarely turn down a book. Sending you a pm. With the exception of  the Alvarez, these titles are new to me. In The Time of The Butterflies is really moving. I was disappointed with the film. Have you read Persepolis? (Iran)



Last Edited on: 11/16/08 8:52 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/18/2008 11:08 AM ET
Member Since: 3/22/2007
Posts: 442
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Coffee Will Make You Black: A Novel by April Sinclair  http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780380724598-Coffee+Will+Make+You+Black    Read this years ago.  Good coming of age story set in the 1960's.

Born Confused  Author: Tanuja Desai Hidier  http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780439510110-Born+Confused

Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye   Reading level: Ages 9-12  http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780689825231-Habibi

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan   Reading level: Ages 9-12   http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780439120425-Esperanza+Rising

All-of-a-Kind Family  Author: Sydney Taylor   http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780385732956-AllofaKind+Family    I read this series when I was a kid.  It was part of the 4th grade reading curriculum at my school.  Loved them.  It takes place in turn of the century NY city and, IIRC, at some point in each book a Jewish holiday occurs.  Most non-Jews know about Channukah, Rosh Hashanna, and Yom Kipper but it was through these books that I first learned about Purim and Sukkoht.  Also, I remember one of the books took place during the Polio epidemic.

Zlata's Diary by Zlata Filipovic  http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780140242058-Zlatas+Diary+A+Childs+Life+in+Sarajevo

Elli: Coming of Age in the Holocaust by Livia Bitton Jackson http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780586062586-Elli+Coming+of+Age+in+the+Holocaust

 

 

Poetry:

Honeybee: Poems & Short Prose   Author: Naomi Shihab Nye http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780060853907-Honeybee+Poems+Short+Prose

This Same Sky: A Collection of Poems from Around the World by Naomi Shihab Nye http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780689806308-This+Same+Sky+A+Collection+of+Poems+from+Around+the+World



Last Edited on: 11/18/08 11:08 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/18/2008 11:14 AM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 573
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Karen,

Recently read Born Confused. Waiting for a copy now. We've had Coffee Will Make You Black. Waiting for a new copy. We have Esperanza.  I have and really enjoy The Flag of Childhood by Naomi Shiab Nye. Will look for your recommendations. Historical fiction doesn't move much but I keep the others in mind.

It is sometimes very frustrating how limited the girls' reading habits are. Then again, the majority won't even check books out so I try to remain positive and hopeful.

Date Posted: 11/18/2008 11:17 AM ET
Member Since: 4/17/2008
Posts: 11
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LaTonya,

So far I've only read Flight, and a bunch of his short stories. I think he's fabulous.

Let us know what you come across thats really good. I'm always looking for great writers that may be flying under the radar.

Date Posted: 11/18/2008 4:42 PM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 573
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Sarah,

I like Chris Crutcher's Whale Tale.

Date Posted: 11/18/2008 11:01 PM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
Posts: 28,497
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LaTonya, have you read the Saffron Kitchen by Yasmin Crowther?  Crowther is a Persian-British author.  Her book is about a mother and daughter at odds.  When a crisis happens in the family, the mother flees to Iran to confront her past.  So the book takes place in England and Iran.

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an Indian-American author who has written some great books and collections of short stories.  All her books incorporate strong female leads.  I loved Queen of Dreams especially.  I don't really care for short stories and I devoured her Arranged Marriages in two days.  Her books usually are set in both the US and India and involved immigrants coming to America.  So, there is usually alot of cultural conflict.

Veil of Roses by Laura Fitzgerald is a good one.  It's about an Iranian woman who comes to America to find a husband and must do so before her visa runs out.  Along the way she tries to find her way in a very strange country.

Buddha Baby by Kim Wong Keltner is about a second or third generation Chinese American woman living in San Francisco's china town.  It was very funny and I thought culturally interesting.

Bharti Kirchner is another India-American author.  I've read two of her books Darjeeling and Shiva Dancing.  I enjoyed both.

Lisa See's Snow flower and the Secret Fan was an excellent book set in China.  Strong female characters. 

Alexander McCall Smith's No 1 Ladies Detective Agency is a cozy mystery but it's very unusual.  It's set in Botswana and the main character is Precious Ramotswe.  When her father dies, she decides Botswana needs a female detective, so she sets up an agency.  The book is funny and charming.  The mysteries aren't of your usual type. 

I'd also recommend the Samurai's Gardner by Gail Tsukiyama.  It doesn't have a female lead, but an influential female supporting character.  The story is set in the 1930s in Japan as Japan is invading China.  A young man comes to stay at his family's old home to recover from illness.  There he learns about life from the family's old gardner.   It's a remarkable tale.

That's all I can think of at this moment by going through my books I've read list.  Hope it helps.

Date Posted: 11/19/2008 1:26 AM ET
Member Since: 3/22/2007
Posts: 442
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Historical fiction doesn't move much but I keep the others in mind.

It is sometimes very frustrating how limited the girls' reading habits are. Then again, the majority won't even check books out so I try to remain positive and hopeful.

 

That's too bad but not uncommon.  I think a lot of kids are resistant to reading historical fiction.  Maybe they assume that they will not be able to relate?  Anyway here are a couple of others that may be good.

Nobody's Family Is Going to Change by Louise Fitzhugh   http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780312535773-Nobodys+Family+Is+Going+to+Change

Review "At 11, Emma has a mind like a steel trap and her heart set on becoming a lawyer, much to the disgust of Mr. Sheridan, himself an attorney, who favors Willie [her brother] for such a profession. But Willie yearns to dance...The clashes begin and grow in intensity until an Armageddon of sorts [occurs] between Willie, Emma, and their father." --Booklist

This is another book I read when I was a kid.  It's written by the woman who wrote Harriet the Spy.  I remember seeing a tv movie based on the book that starred Dee from What's Happening.  Also the musical The Tap Dance Kid is loosely based on the novel. 

 

The Skin I'm in by Sharon Flake   http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9781423103851-Skin+Im+in+The

The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera   http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780152050160-The+Whale+Rider

A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer   http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780140386356-A+Girl+Named+Disaster

 

I don't know if you would be interested in romance/paranormal books but there are several series that have protaganists from a variety of ethnic backrounds. (Although you wouldn't necessarily know it from the book covers.  But don't get me started on the racism in the romance industry.)

Nalini Singh's Psy-Changeling series is very entertaining.  Her first book is Slave To Sensation.  http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780425212868-Slave+to+Sensation+PsyChangelings+Bk+1

Minion (Vampire Huntress Legends) by L. A. Banks  http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780312987015-Minion+Vampire+Huntress+Bk+1 "All Damali Richards ever wanted to do was create music and bring it to the people. Now she is a Spoken Word artist and the top act for Warriors of Light Records. But come nightfall, she hunts vampires and demons—predators that people tend to dismiss as myth or fantasy. But Damali and her Guardian team cannot afford such delusions, especially now, when a group of rogue vampires have been killing the artists of Warriors of Light and their rival, Blood Music."

I'd also recommend Marjorie M. Liu's Dirk & Steele series.  The first in the series is Tiger Eye.  http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780505526267-Tiger+Eye+Dirk+Steele+Bk+1

It really is too bad that they are not interested in historicals.  Beverly Jenkins writes very good romances set in the post civil war west.  Her women are strong and accomplished.  Her men honorable and sexy.  And AFAIK, she is one of the only romance authors that writes historical fiction that feature people of color as her protagonists. 

If I come across others, I'll continue to post.

Good luck with your group.

Date Posted: 11/19/2008 3:34 AM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 573
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I think we have Samurai's Gardner by Gail Tsukiyama. I know we have something by her. I haven't read it yet.

We have The Skin I'm in. Big hit.

I've heard of Beverly Jenkins. I haven't purchased any yet. Will check her and the other suggestions as well.

 

Speaking of historical. Has anyone read Kindred by Octavia E. Butler? Loved it. Highly recommend it. It really challenges the reader to think how complex relationships can be.

Thanks,

Date Posted: 11/20/2008 4:11 AM ET
Member Since: 11/16/2008
Posts: 8
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Some historical fiction that may go over is the Royal Diaries Collection, 20 books of fictional diaries based off real female royalty.  They include Queen Elizabeth, Marie Antoinette, and more royal women from Africa to Haiti.  Really interesting and well written, my sister loves them.

Also the books by Carolyn Meyer are books about the women in the Tudor dynasty in England written for young adults. 

 

Some other good ones are...

Parade of Shadows by Gloria Whelan about a girl's adventure through history

The "Dear America" series which are fictional diaries of women who lived during important historical times

Goddess of Yesterday by Caroline Cooney which stars a young female narrator living through the era of the Trojan War

Someone Named Eva by Joan Wolf that has a strong young female character set during the Holocaust

Boston Jane by Jennifer Helm which is about a young girl in the 1800's dealing with society's expectations of women

Date Posted: 11/23/2008 7:30 PM ET
Member Since: 10/7/2008
Posts: 7
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Have you read Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea. It's written as a series  of e-mails sent to the e-subscribers of an Internet group, the story follows an unnamed narrator who recounts the stories of her best friends, Gamrah, Lamees, Michelle and Sadeem. Its chick lit but maybe a quick read about four girls coming into maturity in contemporary Saudi Arabia. It isn't a piece of a literary masterpiece but its relateable.

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy I thought was moving. It's a story about young twins and their family in India and the writing is beautiful.

Also, I read it in Australia and unfortunately left it there, and I think it is difficult to find here but if you come across Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera don't pass it up. It's a true story of a young Indian girl in England. "When the auther was fourteen, she was shown a photo of the man chosen to be her husband. She was terrified. She'd witnessed the torment her sisters endured in their arranged marriages, so she ran away from home, grief-stricken when her parents disowned her. Shame is the heart-rending true story of a young girl's attempt to escape from a cruel, claustrophobic world where family honour mattered more than anything - sometimes more than life itself. Jasvinder's story is one of terrible oppression, a harrowing struggle against a punitive code of honour - and, finally, triumph over adversity." This book moved me too tears. I wished I had held on to it, so I would be able to pass it on.

 


Date Posted: 11/23/2008 10:16 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,537
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Speaking of historical. Has anyone read Kindred by Octavia E. Butler? Loved it. Highly recommend it. It really challenges the reader to think how complex relationships can be.

I just received the audio casettes of Kindred this Sat.  I am looking forward to listening to it on my drive this week.  Octavia Butler is one of those authors that defy description.  At least by me.  I was so blown away by one of her books I couldn't read anything else for a month. 

I have not heard of Persepolis but it is now on my wish list. 



Last Edited on: 11/23/08 10:20 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/26/2008 4:23 AM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 573
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Pamela,

Oh, I don't know if I could listen to Kindred. I did read it and it stays with you. The read is disturbing. The moral questions are not easy to reconcile.

Tracy,

Wow, thanks!  I think I've heard about shame. Definitely will look for it. I live in a large Indian community. I've had God of Small Things on my shelf for years. Embarrassed to say I haven't read it yet.

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