Open Mic: riffs about life between cultures in ten voices, edited by Mitali Perkins

Open Mic: riffs about life between cultures in ten voices, edited by Mitali Perkins

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in the Open microphoneTen color authors work together to offer their experiences (or stories based on their experiences) in this open, humorous collection for teenagers.

Open Mic: riffs about life between cultures in ten voices, edited by Mitali Perkins. Candlewick, 2013. 144 pages.

  • Reading level: Teenagers aged 12-15 years
  • Recommended for: Young people from 12 years old

Those who grow up between cultures have a different experience than those who grow up in a more homogeneous culture. Whether it's parents from different cultures, immigration experiences that lead to life in two different cultures, or simply a different cultural background than the majority culture, an experience between cultures is important. These ten stories are alternately funny, moving, or both. Some are autobiographical, others are pure fiction. Poetry, comic, narrative – all based on actual experiences of the different authors.

Perkins & # 39; Introduction is worth reading in itself, as it encourages readers to have a sense of humor to talk about race with grace and laughter, even if we talk about it in more serious circumstances. With care, she gives some excellent tips on how best to master this humor. Don't skip the intro, especially if you're part of the majority culture.

The authors are well-known names in contemporary middle class and in youth literature: Mitali Perkins, G. Neri, Naomi Shihab Nye, Francisco X. Storch, Gene Yang, Cherry Cheva, David Yoo, Varian Johnson, Debbie Rigaud and Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich. Together they represent different ethnicities and a wide range of literary talents. My personal favorites are those of David Yoo ("Henry Lee will"), Mitali Perkins ("Three Pointers"), Debbie Rigaud ("Voilá!") And G. Neri ("Unter Berlin").

Instead of reading this book directly, choose a story or two to immerse yourself in at the same time. Read it, giggle and think about it. Talk to your teenagers about it – or encourage them to talk to your friends about it. The Lord, in his wisdom, created humanity in all its glorious diversity. Everyone, regardless of their skin color, is created in God's image. We are very happy about his creation and everyone who was created after his image.


  • Use books like this to talk to your teenagers about issues of race and culture.
  • Obscenity / Vulgarity: Some of the stories contain bad language, but it's not an exaggeration.
  • Sexuality: A clue to a girl's appearance and a man's pants as an answer in a story. Stork's story "Brotherly Love" has different homosexual overtones that you may want to talk about. Otherwise, the sexual references are minimal and correspond to most youthful conversations.
  • Note: Yang's cartoon is hard to read in Kindle format (at least on my Paperwhite). I cannot speak about its content.

Overall rating: 4/5

  • Worldview rating: 4.25 / 5
  • Artistic rating: 4/5

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