Gr. 6-10. Avoiding the usual exotic, primitive stereotypes, these 12 stories and three poems take readers up close to contemporary young people in all their diversity and connections. Born in Ghana, Danquah came to the U. S. when she was six, and her free-verse poem, "An African American," celebrates the two places she considers home. Nikki Grimes' short story tells of a white kid visiting a Bushman community, where she makes a friend and moves from tourist to participant. In stark contrast is the story about a teen in L.A. haunted by his memories as a child soldier-killer in Sierra Leone. Editor Kurtz grew up with white missionary parents in Ethiopia and came to the U.S. a stranger; her story contrasts an American kid's blather about a date with her Ethiopian friend's anguished memories of kids killed by landmines. Some stories are too purposive, and some require more background information for American readers; but the long notes at the back with each author's bio and commentary add to these rich narratives of two continents. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
About the Author
Jane Kurtz was born in Portland, Oregon, but moved to Ethiopia when she was two years old and lived there for most of her childhood. She visited Boise, Idaho, for one year when she was seven, and she spent one year in Pasadena, California, when she was thirteen.
As an adult, she has spent time in several African countries but lives in Grand Forks, North Dakota, where she teaches part time in the English department at the University of North Dakota. She says, "My whole life has been shaped by that feeling of never being able to go home again. Luckily for me, my writing can transport me anyplace in the world."
Jane Kurtz is the author of both picture books and novels, and her titles include The Storyteller's Beads and Faraway Home.