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The Other Half of My Heart

by Sundee T. Frazier

Published by Delacorte Press, 2010
296 pages
ISBN: 978-0-385-73440-0

Ages 10-13

Podcast featuring this book

Eleven-year-old twins Minni and Keira are far from identical. Outgoing Keira has dark brown skin, hair, and eyes like their African American mom. Shy Minni has light skin, red hair, and blue eyes like their Irish American dad. The sisters are visiting their African American grandmother to participate in the Miss Black Pearl preteen program. Itís something Minni dreads, while Keira canít wait to perform. Keiraís defense of Minni after another contender nastily questions Minniís blackness makes Minni think more about what itís like for Keira in their community back home, where theirs is the only African American family. It also makes Minni feel guilty for not speaking out when her sister has faced overt racism at home, and uncertain about her own racial identity. Meanwhile, the girls find plenty of ways to make fun of their strict, old-fashioned grandmother, but some things are too painful for laughter. Grandmother Johnson passionately shares memories of the Civil Rights Movement, but also clearly favors Minni and makes critical comments about Keiraís dark skin and kinky hair. Then Keira accuses Minni of believing what their grandmotherís attitude seem to imply: that sheís better because sheís light. Sundee T. Frazier takes a fearless look at the complex issues of race, identity, and prejudice beyond and within the Black community in this lively, deeply felt novel in which nothing, including love, is black-and-white. (MS) ©2010 Cooperative Childrenís Book Center


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