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How My Family Lives in America
     

How My Family Lives in America

by Susan Kuklin
 

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In How My Family Lives in America, author-photographer Susan Kuklin zeroes in on the source of cultural identity: the family. Meet:
Sanu, who is learning how to braid her hair and to cook the same African meal her father makes.
Eric, who loves to play baseball with his dad and to dance the merengue with his friends and family.

Overview

In How My Family Lives in America, author-photographer Susan Kuklin zeroes in on the source of cultural identity: the family. Meet:
Sanu, who is learning how to braid her hair and to cook the same African meal her father makes.
Eric, who loves to play baseball with his dad and to dance the merengue with his friends and family.
April, who works hard on her Chinese writing and tries to keep up with her family's challenging games.
Their stories emphasize the seemingly minor and everyday ways heritage is transmitted: stories, songs, games, language, special occasions. They show the importance of choice and adaptation in forging a cultural identity. And they provoke readers to examine their own families — what makes them the same, what makes them distinct, and how this uniqueness is celebrated.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
The rich variety of lifestyles and cultural heritage in the U.S. make it a treasure chest unmatched anywhere in the world. Photo-essayist Kuklin makes this point photographically. We meet 3 families from different parts of the world. Sanu's father is from Senegal, Eric's family is from Puerto Rico, and April's family is from Taiwan. The color photos show the families eating, shopping, playing games, or talking about their culture. The text is brief but the emphasis is on family life.
Children's Literature - Beverly Kobrin
In author/photographer Susan Kuklin's colorful photoessay, kindergarten-age Sanu Dieng, Eric Cruz and April Lee talk about the daily activities through which they learn and practice the customs of their cultural heritage, respectively Senegalese, Puerto Rican, and Chinese. Among the traditions they share, Sanu describes a meal her dad prepared and the family eats sitting on the floor, African style; Eric tells of the Spanish dances he and his family enjoy together; April shows the calligraphy she is learning in Chinese School. Each of the children contributed a favorite recipe readers can try for a "taste" of the three cultures. Ms. Kuskin concludes with a note that she "hoped to create a book that simultaneously celebrated difference and recognized similarities." She's succeeded admirably.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-- A glimpse at how three families impart a sense of ethnic identity to their children. Five-year-old Sanu's father is from Senegal. Her mother grew up in Baltimore. Sanu and her father buy food for a traditional dish he will prepare and share with other relatives. Eric and his mother were born in New York City, while his father is from Puerto Rico. When relatives gather at their house, they like to dance the merengue. April's parents were born and raised in Taiwan. On Saturdays she and her siblings go to Chinese school to learn calligraphy. All three families live in middle-class urban settings. All three children have sensitive, caring parents; two of them have strong ties with extended families. Religion is not discussed directly, but there are hints of Christian backgrounds in two cases. Each child's first-person narration is simple and uncomplicated, with occasional humorous touches. One can almost hear them speaking. The full-color photographs are well composed and serviceable. As there is a growing demand for books depicting multicultural heritages, this one will be useful. Another recent title that has a similar, although perhaps more cohesive and energetic theme is Norah Dooley's Everybody Cooks Rice (Carolrhoda, 1991) .--Alexandra Marris, Rochester Pub . Lib . , NY

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780027512397
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
03/31/1992
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
10.36(w) x 8.29(h) x 0.41(d)
Lexile:
NC840L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Susan Kuklin is a noted author and photographer of books for young children as well as for older readers. Her seven previous photo essays for Bradbury Press have been hailed as "models of photojournalism for young readers" (The New York Times Book Review), as "notable for their realistic approaches, relatively detailed text, and attractive format" (ALA Booklist), and as "excellent additions to any library" (School Library Journal). Her highly praised books for older readers include Fighting Back and What Do I Do Now? (both Putnam). Ms. Kuklin lives in New York City with her husband, Bailey.

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