A Different Mirror for Young People: A History of Multicultural America

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A Different Mirror for Young People: A History of Multicultural America

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This 375-page book would be an excellent way to include multi-ethnic materials in the classroom as a way to ensure that your students see their unique identities reflected in their coursework.”
Skipping Stones

“This is a great introduction to Takaki’s path-breaking scholarship.”

VOYA - Kate Conklin
An adapted version of Ronald Takaki's work, A Different Mirror (Little, Brown, 1993), this history of minorities in the United States is accessible to a younger crowd. It chronicles the effects of Protestant, Western-European culture on the Native Americans that were already occupying North America and the struggle to hold on to cultural identity. Takaki provides a detailed look at the Africans brought to the country to work on plantations, and the post-abolition civil rights movement. The white Irish Catholics who struggled for acceptance based on religious differences are a group that readers may not be aware was previously a minority. Stories about numerous Jewish, Asian, and Latino individuals who worked to knit themselves into the fabric of American life will help students to see themselves and their ancestors as a part of history. The well-rounded topics give a better picture of the so-called "melting pot," and a glimpse into the future of the United States, where every cultural and ethnic group is projected to become a minority. While the depth of research and scope of this nonfiction narrative is admirable, teens are unlikely to choose this as independent reading. Teachers may find it useful for teaching an expanded, more complete picture of the history of the United States. It is likely that the easy-to-read, conversational text will be a refreshing change from more challenging textbooks. A Different Mirror For Young People's most appropriate role will be in classrooms as a supplement to curricular materials. Reviewer: Kate Conklin
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up—This established adult classic of multiculturalism has been pared down for a younger audience. Stefoff, who previously adapted Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States (Longman, 1980), takes a crack at Takaki's look at America and its people. Focusing on a variety of groups-Jews, Chinese, Japanese, Africans, Irish, Mexicans, Afghans, Vietnamese, and more-this volume tells America's story through the millions of people who came here seeking the Land of Opportunity only to find low wages, pitiable living conditions, and bigotry at every turn. Yet Takaki keeps bitterness at bay, writing with hope and conviction about the many opportunities for young Americans to make change in a country where, soon enough, "we all will be minorities." Stefoff adds a few nice touches-the short stories of individuals ending each chapter definitely make the content more relatable-but many young people would be better off sticking with Takaki's original text.—Sam Bloom, Blue Ash Library, Cincinnati, OH
Kirkus Reviews
A classic framing of this country's history from a multicultural perspective, clumsily cut and recast into more simplified language for young readers. Veering away from the standard "Master Narrative" to tell "the story of a nation peopled by the world," the violence- and injustice-laden account focuses on minorities, from African- Americans ("the central minority throughout our country's history"), Mexicans and Native Americans to Japanese, Vietnamese, Sikh, Russian Jewish and Muslim immigrants. Stefoff reduces Takaki's scholarly but fluid narrative (1993, revised 2008) to choppy sentences and sound-bite quotes. She also adds debatable generalizations, such as a sweeping claim that Native Americans "lived outside of white society's borders," and an incorrect one that the Emancipation Proclamation "freed the slaves." Readers may take a stronger interest in their own cultural heritage from this broad picture of the United States as, historically, a tapestry of ethnic identities that are "separate but also shared"--but being more readable and, by page count at least, only about a third longer, the original version won't be out of reach of much of the intended audience, despite its denser prose. In either iteration, a provocative counter to conventional, blinkered views of our national story. (endnotes, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 12-15)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781609804848
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press
  • Publication date: 10/16/2012
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 545,352
  • Age range: 10 - 15 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction My Story, Our Story 1

Chapter 1 Why a Different Mirror? 5

Chapter 2 Removing the "Savages" 25

Chapter 3 The Hidden Origins of Slavery 47

Chapter 4 The Road to the Reservation 67

Chapter 5 Life in Slavery 85

Chapter 6 The Flight from Ireland 105

Chapter 7 The War Against Mexico 125

Chapter 8 From China to Gold Mountain 145

Chapter 9 Dealing with the Indians 167

Chapter 10 The Japanese and "Money Trees" 187

Chapter 11 Jews Are Pushed from Russia 215

Chapter 12 Up from Mexico 237

Chapter 13 Blacks Arrive in Northern Cities 255

Chapter 14 World War II and America's Ethnic Problem 273

Chapter 15 Calls for Change 297

Chapter 16 New Waves of Newcomers 317

Chapter 17 "We Will All Be Minorities" 337

Notes 341

Glossary 361

Index 365

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