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The Other Half of My Heart Hardcover – June 8, 2010


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 750L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (June 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385734409
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385734400
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 6.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,038,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-6 Twins Keira and Minni, 11, are used to the funny looks their chessboard family receives: Keira takes after their black mother and Minni resembles their white father. In spite of differences in appearance and personality, the girls share a bond that they are convinced is unbreakable. When their maternal grandmother invites them to fly from their coastal Washington town to North Carolina and enroll in the Miss Black Pearl of America Program, their mother is hesitant, but finally agrees. Keira is ecstatic to enter, but introverted Minni is not happy. Her reservations seem well founded when they arrive: Grandmother Johnson is as persnickety as ever, and the program's president questions whether Minni qualifies to participate in an event for black girls. Minni learns what it feels like to be the odd person out in terms of appearance, and Keira is resentful that, up until now, Minni really hasn't understood what her sister was going through in their white Seattle suburb. The girls mature and learn a few things about their grandmother's struggle to be seen as an equal by the white community. As in Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything in It (Delacorte, 2007), Frazier addresses issues faced by mixed-race children with a grace and humor that keep her from being pedantic. The story is enjoyable in its own right, but will also encourage readers to rethink racial boundaries and what it means to be black or white in America. Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The idea of being a twin has built-in appeal—a sibling who has almost identical experiences of the world can be an instant BFF. That ideal informs the lives of sisters Minni and Keira, but the differences between the biracial siblings may be vaster than they’d like to think, because Minni’s coloring is white like their father’s, while Keira’s is black like their mother’s. During the summer when the girls turn 11, awareness of how they’re perceived is driven home when a storekeeper in their home state of Washington has a widely disparate reaction to the girls’ browsing through fancy dresses. Later, when the girls visit their prickly maternal grandmother in North Carolina and compete in a beauty contest for African Americans, Minni feels she is the focus of skeptical attention. Not only does Frazier raise questions worth pondering but her ability to round out each character, looking past easy explanations for attitude, is impressive. She also leavens the whole with easy humor and builds suspense over the pageant itself. Will the talented and outgoing Keira win the prize? Will Minni be able to overcome her shyness and shine? A novel with a great deal of heart indeed, from the winner of the John Steptoe New Talent Award for Brendan Buckley’s Universe and Everything in It (2007). Grades 4-6. --Karen Cruze

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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A charming book by an award-winning author!
Dori Jones Yang
She also shows the struggle the Minni goes through with in herself to feel like she belongs.
L.Davis
Couldn't put the book down wanting to get to the end.
Carolyn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on June 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The Other Half of My Heart is now one of my favorite books in the entire world!!!!
I finished reading it four days after I received it for my 12th birthday. I recommend it for ages 8 and up and especially for sisters. It is about the pleasures and hardships of biracial twins, Minni and Kiera, and how Minni learns that standing up for and doing what is right takes courage, especially when, if you don't act, it may hurt someone you love.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By LaTasha on November 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My children are biracial and I felt this book would do good for my daughter and comment she was faced with recently in school. The warmness that the twins have between one another is so nice to read. Understanding that people biracial or not go through things and can overcome what ever happens their way with pride and grace. I hope my daughter takes all that is good from this book and shares it with others.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brooks on August 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
While I liked the overall spirit and wisdom of the book, there were little details that were too off-putting to ignore. The relationship between the twins was realistic and touching. The handling of each twin's unique position was also well done. However,a pagent? Really? There was no other format to explore these themes of identity, acceptance, family bonds, etc? Eleven year olds in pagents? Really? If their mother was such a strong black woman, she would never have allowed such a thing to happen.
The twins travel to Raleigh, NC to visit their black grandmother who has entered them in the Miss Black Pearl pagent. The author's negative description of Raleigh was rather a shock. Raleigh is a beautiful, historical, gem of the south. The girls' disrespectful attitude toward their grandmother was not amusing. When they put something in her food that could potentially be harmful, that was going too far. I would never use a book where the characters thought that was a cute prank. Plus, I can't imagine doing that to my grandmother no matter what I thought of her.
There is the part where the announcer welcomes everyone to the 9th annual pagent. The girls' mother was in the pagent when she was a girl, and she's in her 30's, so how could it be the 9th pagent?
The grandmother's grandmother lived in Durham and worked as a housekeeper in Raleigh. The book mentions it's a 30 minute bus ride. Most unlikely. It was all those little details that kept me from thinking the book was outstanding. Those details should have been picked up on by an editor.
There are a lot of authors using 11 year olds. As a middle school teacher for many years, I strongly doubt that 11 year olds could do all of this or have the experiences these girls have had.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Donovan TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Minni and Keira are biracial twins. That's not all that unusual, but the fact that Minni looks completely like her father -- fair and red-headed -- and Keira looks like her mother -- darker with curly dark hair -- is unusual.

When their grandmother invites them to stay for the summer and participate in the Black Pearl pageant, it makes their differences stand out even more. Not only does Minni not look Black, but she hates being in the spotlight, something her sister Keira loves.

The novel focuses on Minni figuring out if she really can consider herself to be Black, learning what it's felt like for her sister Keira to be one of the only dark-skinned people in their class at home, and just figuring out identity and who she wants to be.

It's a great look at sisters, mothers, estranged relatives (their grandmother), and facing your fears. Both sisters are likable and relatable heroines, and the message that comes through is that we should celebrate our similarities and our differences.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Loren A. Roberts on August 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Loved this book -- just finished reading it last night. Frazier has written some wonderful characters in both the leads (twin sisters Minni and Kiera) and the supporting cast. Laugh-out-loud moments throughout the book. Even though I would categorize this as a "message" book, I never felt like I was being hit over the head with the message like you used to get with the ABC After School Specials...the key takeaway is to love life and to love others and to love yourself, which is a noble goal for anyone, whatever color the skin.

It's a quick read for adults, but will easily hold the attention of the target audience of 9-12-year-olds. We placed a copy in our school library (lots of bi-racial blended families in our school), and it has been checked out several times already.

Highly recommended for both those who come from blended families as well as those of us who want a deeper insight into race and family.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sandra K. Stiles on November 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Minnie and Keira are twins. They were born only seven minutes apart. However, Minni was born with reddish blond hair and white skin like her daddy. Keira was born with "cinnamon-brown" skin and dark curly hair like her mother. The girls are sent from Washington to North Caroline to visit their grandmother. She has entered them in the Miss Black Pear contest. For the first time, Keira feels like she fits in. Minni suddenly feels like she doesn't belong as they question whether she qualifies to be in the contest. This is a story that shows the struggle of being accepted for who you are no matter what your color. It also show how strong the bonds between sisters and especially twins are. This was an excellent book.
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