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Call Me Okaasan: Adventures in Multicultural Mothering Paperback – May 1, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1932279337 ISBN-10: 1932279334

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing (May 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932279334
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932279337
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,354,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Kamata offers beautiful and sometimes treacherous maps of the territory that multicultural parents face. They are maps that such families need, and it is up to the reader to continue the conversation." --The Japan Times

"Kamata has produced an interesting book. [Suggested] for young adults and older, to help understand culturally blended families and avoid awkward situations."  --MultiCultural Review

"This book is a treasure to read...packed with emotional honesty and multicultural wisdom, making it very relevant to the peripatetic lifestyle we lead." --Destinations

"For any family that is living abroad or is planning to move abroad, this book offers superlative insight into the issues and challenges that families may face and is a must read for both parents." --J Select Magazine

"Call Me Okaasan...is a powerful commentary on motherhood...[The book] celebrates the uniqueness of biracial children. It also deals with the myriad emotions suffered by their parents." --The Telegraph

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Robin Pascoe on May 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
The contributors to this lovely and almost lyrical anthology of mothering far from home, face all the regular roadblocks of raising healthy and happy children and then some. This collection will resonate with so many expatriate families or those who have chosen to live abroad. More importantly, buried in the narratives are many true gems of wisdom of cross-cultural mothering.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Couturier on March 15, 2010
Format: Paperback
I am not a mother, but through my sister I do have a close relationship with a bi-cultural child, and I found the stories in this book very moving. One story by Leza Lowitz was so moving and affecting that I was stopped stark in my tracks imagining all the ways that cultural ideas and norms smack hard into emotions and real-world decisions as this woman, a powerful writer, grapples with one of the largest decisions of her life. One scene, such a well drawn, quiet scene with a little boy walking up to an injured cat in a huge city, and stopping to comfort the cat moved me very deeply. The writing in this story glowed. Another piece I really responded to and remembered (it's been more than 6 months since I read this book and I still remember this story) was an essay by a woman who is partially of Indian descent with a partly African-American partner has two children, and how one of them is born with white skin, and another, full sisters, is born with brown skin, and how this wise mother grapples with both her own feelings as a person of color in the US, and her predictions and emotions about how these two sisters will grow up. The work of the editor here, in choosing what stories and essays are important for us to read, is evident throughout. Her ability to spot, and highlight, those with real punch make the collection itself much more than your standard thematic hodgepodge of loosely related pieces of writing. If you care about children who are ripped between two cultures, and what they go through, definitely pick up this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Osaka Lady on February 4, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To all multi-cultural mamas, dads, children, expats, TCKs, etc -

I've had a hard time finding reading material (specifically personal stories) related to the area of raising children overseas/multiculturally. "Call Me Okaasan" not only fills a niche, but very entertainingly and movingly so.

Thank you Suzanne for putting this together and giving us all a little perspective. I've already given it as a present and probably will again.

Arigato!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A long time ago I picked up a picture book to read with my Japanese/American bicultural daughters called "The Wakame Gatherers" and found myself all choked up at the end.

Imagine my pleasure when I found Suzanne Kamata, the author of the Wakame Gatherers had put together a collection of thoughtful essays from various writing mothers about what it means to raise a child in a multicultural/multilingual context.

I picked up this book eager to read about how other mothers deal with issues like what home language to use, feeling like an outsider in both countries, dealing with kids who identify with different cultures, and who basically worried about the same kinds of issues I have raising daughters first in Japan and then the United States with a Japanese father and a Caucasian/American mother.

I was not disappointed. I think the greatest gift you can give your multicultural children is to show them they are not alone in their tricky role, and it dawned upon me reading Kamata's introduction where she describes the assumptions she had about raising children in Japan (that she would be called Mommy or that her children would give two shakes of a rat's tail about Thanksgiving) that I could also give the same gift to myself: I wasn't the only one with seemingly at once inconsequential and earth-shattering fears about how my children will create and form positive identities for themselves when they are so obviously formed from both Japan and the United States.

But it's not only bicultural mothers represented in this book; there are bicultural mothers themselves raising international children, a US mother who adopted from Korea, a US mother who has become Israeli, North Americans living abroad and non-US mothers dealing with encroaching US culture.
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