Open Your Eyes: Extraordinary Experiences in Far Away Places

Overview

Living in a new place is very different from visiting one, especially when that place is far away from home. Traveling gives us the rare opportunity to see who we might have been if we had been born someplace else. For some, it's a chance to recreate ourselves. For others, it's a time to realize who we already are. In Open Your Eyes, ten writers will be your guides to the journeys that changed their lives: a boarding school in England; parenthood in France; the most beautiful spots in Italy; China on the ...

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Overview

Living in a new place is very different from visiting one, especially when that place is far away from home. Traveling gives us the rare opportunity to see who we might have been if we had been born someplace else. For some, it's a chance to recreate ourselves. For others, it's a time to realize who we already are. In Open Your Eyes, ten writers will be your guides to the journeys that changed their lives: a boarding school in England; parenthood in France; the most beautiful spots in Italy; China on the Yang-tze; a tiny shop in Tokyo, Japan; and even to Pilzen, Czechoslovakia as World War II is ending. Though each story offers an original viewpoint, all of the stories reflect back on two important themes: where we come from and how we become who we are.

Edited by Jill Davis.

A collection of memoirs and stories about a variety of travel experiences that changed the lives of such well-known writers as Lois Lowry, Suzie Morgenstern, and Harry Mazer.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Ten notable authors recreate memorable moments of their youthful travels in this thought-provoking collection of essays, letters and stories. Some selections take place on native soil: Elizabeth Partridge's "Looking for America," for example, traces her road trip to the segregated South, and Piper Dellums, the daughter of a U.S. congressman, describes hosting a white South African girl assigned to her African-American family as part of a foreign-exchange program in 1977. Without exception, these intimate first-person narratives successfully evoke the awe, thrill or terror of experiencing a different culture. Acting bolder than her mother about exploring the streets of Tokyo in the years after WWII, an 11-year-old Lois Lowry risks entering a stranger's house and learns that kindness can exist in "enemy" territory. Taking the persona of her daughter in "Little Mom, Big French Suitcase," Susie Morgenstern shows what it's like to grow up in France with an outspoken American mother. M.T. Anderson, identified as a "nerd," goes to boarding school in England because he is "tired of who I had to be in America.... [England], I thought, is a land where eccentricity thrives.... It is a realm, I thought, a realm." Kathleen Krull conducts a Q&A session with her 19-year-old stepdaughter, collecting nuts-and-bolts advice on backpacking through Europe. The other members of the all-star roster here include Jean Fritz, Harry Mazer and Katherine Paterson. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
It might have happened in Japan, France, or England. Or it might have been right at home, in the United States with a visitor from South Africa. But for each of the ten authors of the autobiographical short stories in this collection, travel has changed their outlook on the world. Lois Lowery tells of an old man in Tokyo who let her see into his life one afternoon when she was just eleven years old and had left her bicycle by a Buddhist temple to explore her new home in Japan. Piper Dellums tells an incredible story of an exchange student her family hosted from South Africa, and the changes in her own attitude as an enemy became her best friend. And Elizabeth Partridge recounts a trip her family took across America when she saw for the first time a sign over a drinking fountain at a playground, "Whites Only," and realized there was no other drinking fountain available. Though these stories are simple, their impact is huge. Without preaching, they show the insights and understanding that can be gained from traveling outside our own culture—or just outside our own neighborhood. 2003, Viking/ Penguin Group, Ages 12 up.
—Rebecca Watson
VOYA
This collection of short memoirs portrays the effect that travel or experiences with people from different cultures has had on the authors' lives. The subtitle highlights the theme of the book quite well. Each experience influenced the writer, often in profound and life-altering ways. The authors echo throughout the common theme that travel has opened their eyes to a new way of seeing and experiencing and that being open to new experiences and people has afforded them a myriad opportunities. As with many collections, the quality of the writing is uneven overall, but there are gems within the entire work. Lois Lowry's Empress stands out, and Piper Dellums's story about a South African exchange student is particularly touching. Kathleen Krull's interview with her stepdaughter will help allay fears of teens eager to travel but still a little concerned. Although this book might not fly off the shelf, it will be popular with a particular group of teens eager to escape into the wide world. Often the authors' experiences occurred when they were younger; however, there are a few who tasted travel as young adults. Harry Mazer and Graham Salisbury speak of these experiences. And universally the authors encourage travel and enjoying a different view of the world. VOYA Codes: 3Q 2P M J (Readable without serious defects; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2003, Viking, 240p.; Photos., Ages 11 to 15.
—Mary Ann Harlan
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Sometimes the most life-altering moments in young people's lives come as a result of being exposed to another culture. Davis seeks to explore these changes by gathering stories and memoirs from noted authors, among them Lois Lowry, Susie Morgenstern, Katherine Paterson, Graham Salisbury, and Jean Fritz. While most of the selections focus on evolved thinking while on foreign sojourns, two of the best are set in the United States. In a story guaranteed to make readers laugh, howl, and then cry, Piper Dellums, the privileged daughter of an African-American congressman, looks forward to making a sister of a South African exchange student. However, the teen who arrives at her doorstep is white and makes the mistake of thinking that her host family must be the congressman's servants. In "Looking for America," Elizabeth Partridge spends some time in the South and is astonished to find that a black cook who prepares the food can not drink from the family's glasses, but must use a mason jar. At his evocative best, Harry Mazer takes readers back to when he was a teenaged GI, bailing out of a flaming World War II bomber and wondering what happened to a friend who never returned. In this time of rising xenophobia, the message of these stories assumes new importance. It is best summed up by Davis's choice of a Mark Twain quotation: "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness."-Cindy Darling Codell, Clark Middle School, Winchester, KY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670036165
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 10/13/2003
  • Pages: 208
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 920L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.78 (w) x 8.58 (h) x 0.82 (d)

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