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Face Relations: Eleven Stories About Seeing Beyond Color Hardcover – May 25, 2004


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up–Eleven short stories, many by well-known writers for young adults, explore issues of racial identity and race relations in contemporary U.S. high schools. A hugely fat black boy turns out to be a potential surfer dude; a mixed-race boy struggles to be recognized for his Native American heritage. A high school journalist exposes tensions between Haitians and African Americans in her school, and a Chicano boy and his white band teacher make cool jazz together. A Palestinian boy creates a dialogue group in his Texas high school after 9/11; a white girl wants to sit with her former best friend at the black table. The different appearance of a Japanese-American girl reveals her part in a Halloween prank, and a Long Island girl's Mexican-American boyfriend proves to be both hardworking and honorable. A Trinidadian-Indian immigrant finds a boyfriend good enough to pass even her mother's high standards, and a math whiz can't allow herself to have a crush on her teacher until she knows for sure he, too, is black. Finally, learning about "the Hottentot Venus" leads a white Jewish girl to question stereotypes that relate to appearance. Characters struggle with their understanding of their own identity as they react to the expectations of others. Teens will recognize familiar settings and situations. The stories vary in quality and effectiveness and range in tone from cheerful to sad, but all raise questions that could lead to good classroom discussion.–Kathleen Isaacs, Edmund Burke School, Washington, DC
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 7-12. "White men taught us how to be Indians. Before that, we were just people," says a character in Joseph Bruchac's "Skins," one of the 11 stories in this anthology of tales about characters confronting race. Contributed by familiar writers for young people, including Ellen Wittlinger, M. E. Kerr, Rita Williams-Garcia, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Jess Mowry, the stories ask challenging questions about what role race plays in family life, at school, in friendships, and in love. The characters come from a wide range of backgrounds: in one story, a high-school journalist tries to expose the discrimination that Haitian students feel from other black students; in another, a young Palestinian immigrant in Texas copes with the backlash of prejudice that immediately followed 9/11. As with many anthologies, some selections are stronger than others; a few of the weaker contributions seem purposefully issue-driven. But this is a provocative collection, which, like nonfiction anthologies such as Pearl Fuyo Gaskins' What Are You? (1999), will encourage teens to think and talk about what race means. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 840L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (May 25, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689856377
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689856372
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,280,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Marilyn Singer was born in the Bronx (New York City) on October 3, 1948 and lived most of her early life in N. Massapequa (Long Island), NY. She attended Queens College, City University of New York, and for her junior year, Reading University, England. She holds a B.A. in English from Queens and an M.A. in Communications from New York University.

In 1974, after teaching English in New York City high schools for several years, she began to write - initially film notes, catalogues, teacher's guides, and film strips. Then, one day, when she was sitting in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, she penned a story featuring talking insect characters she'd made up when she was eight. Encouraged by the responses she got, she wrote more stories, and in 1976, her first book, The Dog Who Insisted He Wasn't, was published by E.P.Dutton & Co.

Since then, Marilyn has published over eighty books for children and young adults. Her genres are many and varied, including realistic novels, fantasies, non-fiction, fairy tales, picture books, mysteries and poetry. She likes writing many different kinds of books because it's challenging and it keeps her from getting bored.

Marilyn currently lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband Steve; their standard poodle Oggi, seen in the home page photo; a cat named August ; two collared doves named Jubilee and Holiday; and a starling that says, "Hi. How are you? Sweet Birdie. Okay!" Her interests include ballroom/Latin dancing, dog training, reading, hiking, bird-watching, gardening, playing computer adventure games, and going to the movies and the theatre. She's also a major Star Trek fan.

Marilyn is the former host of the AOL Children's Writers Chat and currently co-hosts the Poetry Blast at various conferences. Visit her web site: www.marilynsinger.net.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By N. S. VINE VOICE on June 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
"It seems to me as though I've been upon this stage before
And juggled away the night for the same old crowd"
--Al Stewart, "One Stage Before"
"Then Brandon wondered how he should react. The other students were watching him, too. He felt as if he was up on a stage and no one had told him what part to play. This massive black boy was invading his space on the very first day of high school, dammit! It felt like his cool was a house of cards and this woolly black mammoth was shaking the floor. Brandon had gone to a private school from kindergarten through junior high, so he didn't know anyone here. He had no posse to take his back and validate his coolness permit. He remembered something his father had said about making career decisions. Nobody would dis him for dissing this dude, but they'd probably dis him for not. And they'd have him under a microscope for all this freakin' period. Observer, hell! he told himself; he was the one who was being observed, scanned, filed and categorized, labeled and tagged for the next four years by how he treated this huge black kid within the next forty minutes!"
--from "Phat Acceptance" by Jess Mowry
Last November 18th my wife's middle school participated in Teaching Tolerance's "Mix It Up At Lunch Day." While students in other, tougher places--where they truly fear for their personal safety at school--might scoff at our earnest and enthusiastic efforts to have students get to know kids in some of the "other" groups on campus, we certainly have testimony from students who are intimidated and discouraged by the barriers they perceive between groups.
" 'Well, I'm sorry, DeMaris, but you cannot eat at our table!'
" 'Why?'
" 'Because it makes everybody uncomfortable. Can't you tell that?'
" 'Yes. But I still don't know why.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Justine Spencer on May 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
"The kids were a typical Santa Cruz mix -- meaning that most of them were white -- from surfers in tank-tops, hoodies and shorts, to hip-hops in big-jeans and backward-turned caps. A pair of gothics, boy and girl, had so many piercings that Brandon winced, even though he was wearing an earring himself. There were also a couple of obvious jocks."
I assume Jess Mowry is describing a typical 9th grade World History class in Santa Cruz, California in this early paragraph of his peppery and hilarious story, "Phat Acceptance", which opens this great anthology dealing with modern-day race relations. Another clue is when Mowry teases us with a mention of a youth gang from the early 1960s who were known as the "Tola Rats" for their stomping ground of Capitola, Ca, a little seaside town bordering Santa Cruz. Mowry goes on to illustrate this mix:
"...one of the jocks could have been on TV as a model for all-American boys. There was also a skinhead in boots and suspenders who could have passed for an albino ape, though the only "statement" he seemed to make was that some Caucasians had lame-looking skulls and should have kept something on top of them. ....The other students included three Asians, two slender girls who were Vietnamese... and a pair of rolly Mexican boys in tattered white T-shirts and faded big-jeans. ....The black race hadn't been represented, until this ebony mountain of blubber had lumbered casually into the room."
So begins Brandon Williams' -- age 14, blond, blue-eyed, and a sidewalk surfer -- first day of high school, and we might also assume his introduction into the real world of race relations, being that he's gone to a private school from kindergarten through 8th grade.
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2 of 10 people found the following review helpful By G. T. Sosnowski on February 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I'm glad I took this book out of the library before I wasted my money on it.

The only reason I took this book out was to read Kyoko Mori's story which was about the only good one in the entire book next to "Hum" and "Epiphany".

Most of the stories in here, first off, were structured horribly and were seemingly random, jumping from point to point making the story confusing and unreadable.

As for the actual content of 80% of the book - It's all pretty much propaganda. Most of it was "Please pity me!" or "How DARE you pity me!". The usual whiny politically-correct stuff.
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