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Kimchi & Calamari

by Rose Kent

Published by HarperCollins, 2007
220 pages
ISBN: 0060837691

Ages 10-13

Fourteen-year-old Joseph Calderaro is having an identity crisis thanks to a school assignment to write about his ancestors. Adopted as a baby from Korea, Joseph is interested in writing about his Korean ancestors, even though he worries about hurting his Italian American parentsí feelings. A growing friendship with a Korean student at his school gives Joseph the opportunity to learn about Korean traditions and customs but also reminds him how little he knows about his background and culture. After a promising lead from an online inquiry leaves Joseph certain heís tracked down at least one member of his birth family, he discovers that both family and heritage are things that cannot be defined by blood alone. Rose Kentís story is one with substance but refreshingly buoyant at the same time. Joseph is able to explore big questions about who he is from a place of security in the midst of a realistic (and therefore not perfect), loving family.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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