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Race: An Open & Shut Case Paperback – 2010

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Editorial Reviews

Named among the "books to change your life" by N'Digo Magazine. This is an extraordinary small book, with a big mission...for kids, teens, adults, everyone. The illustrated OPEN & SHUT stories literally flip preconceptions about 'race', and all other appearance-based judgments, UPSIDE-DOWN! The double-sided book, with its delightful illustrations of the Shut and Open families, flips from one 'case' to the other, arriving at two thought-provoking conclusions that forever change the snap judgments we make about one another. Also includes a double-sided companion book with a discussion guide and the tale of how this extraordinary story was born. In a surprising, unique and easy fashion, the books inspire re-evaluation of these and other questions: Is 'race' and 'open and shut' case? Is it a black and white issue? What is 'race' and how many 'races' are there? Why does teasing and excluding happen? What is a family? Can we judge a book by its cover? This is the book to reach for before children bump into stereotyping, when a child wonders why he or she or a friend is being teased, when a hate-motivated attack happens in a community, or when we realize the need to re-evaluate the words and stereotypes that commonly divide us. It is engaging and ideal for children who are coming to these issues for the first time. It's also a great story for blended families and diverse classrooms, and even for adults, inspiring them to look at these matters with fresh eyes. Both double-sided volumes (4 stories, total) are packaged together, as a set, in a silver sleeve. The author is recipient of the Spirit of Anne Frank Award, for her work focusing on the universal experience of what she calls "appearance-ism" (appearance-based judging of ourselves and others), as a core issue to inspire everyone to combat all types of bias.


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • ISBN-10: 0982883803
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982883808
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,888,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anya Cordell is the recipient of the 2010 Spirit of Anne Frank Outstanding Citizen Award. See:

Cordell was a beauty-obsessed teen who grew into a passionate and powerful spokesperson against intolerance and what she calls "appearance-ism" (appearance-based judging of ourselves and others). The injustice of "appearance-ism" is a universal experience, she says, and therefore an issue that can inspire everyone to combat all types of bias. (Please see

In addition to writing, Cordell creates programs for children through seniors, sharing strategies for bridging divides of religion and ethnicity, and crossing into one another's lives. She addresses teasing, bullying, stereotyping, racism, homophobia, age-ism and more, in presentations to schools, faith communities, corporations. She brings home how the media teaches not just fashions, but fashionable attitudes, and reminds us that just because many people say or scream something does not make it true.

In her writing and speaking Cordell exposes the all-too-common impulse to exclude, and the arbitrary basis of who gets designated as 'Other'. Her personal story exemplifies bridging these divides, inspiring everyone to claim their natural worth AS IS and join her in becoming anti-bias activists.

In the wake of the attacks of 9/11, Cordell, who is Jewish, reached out to strangers whose innocent loved ones were murdered in the backlash directed against Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and others. Particular concerns include today's xenophobic climate, how that impacts innocent people, and how to stand together against slurs, stereotypes, and injustice.

Comments from readers and program participants include:

"She inspired me to change my first impression of people."
"Her work is awesome and commendable. She should be cloned."
"Now I'm o.k. in my own skin."
"I don't stress about my body image anymore."

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I LOVE this book. It addresses difference in such a profound way and is digestible for young and old alike. It teaches us how seeing people as 'other' can lead to greater and greater separation. This should be in Oprah's Book Club! I love the idea of "life within a body" because we often make snap judgments of people based on appearance. The outward appearance of another tells us very little about who they truly are. This would be a great book to use in school curriculum from primary education all the way through the graduate level. Nice job Anya Cordell.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a proud owner of this amazing little book, An OPEN & SHUT Case, and enjoyed watching this video almost as much as I enjoyed reading it for the very first time. It's clever in its simplicity, yet powerful beyond measure in its message. Well done Anya Cordell, thank you for your passion.
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