August 16, 2013

Open Mic: Riffs on Life Between Cultures in Ten Voices, edited by Mitali Perkins

I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley. 

Description: 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 poignant, in prose, poetry, and comic form.

My Review: Open Mic is a quick, humorous read in which ten different authors share how their cultural identity shaped their experiences growing up. It gives readers a chance to walk in someone else's shoes for a while and learn what it's like to grow up in a different culture.  I enjoyed every piece, and I appreciated how several different formats were used to tell their stories. I tried to pick a favorite selection, but I think they were all fairly well-written and entertaining. I wish it had been longer and included even more voices! This would be a great addition to a K-12 school library or a public library YA collection.



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