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The Other Half of My Heart

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Overview

The close relationship of a pair of biracial twins is tested when their grandmother enters them in a pageant for African American girls in this new story from Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award winner Sundee T. Frazier.
 
When Minerva and Keira King were born, they made headlines: Keira is black like Mama, but Minni is white like Daddy. Together the family might look like part of a chessboard row, but they are first and ...
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The Other Half of My Heart

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Overview

The close relationship of a pair of biracial twins is tested when their grandmother enters them in a pageant for African American girls in this new story from Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award winner Sundee T. Frazier.
 
When Minerva and Keira King were born, they made headlines: Keira is black like Mama, but Minni is white like Daddy. Together the family might look like part of a chessboard row, but they are first and foremost the close-knit Kings. Then Grandmother Johnson calls, to invite the twins down South to compete for the title of Miss Black Pearl Preteen of America.
 
Minni dreads the spotlight, but Keira assures her that together they'll get through their stay with Grandmother Johnson. But when grandmother's bias against Keira reveals itself, Keira pulls away from her twin. Minni has always believed that no matter how different she and Keira are, they share a deep bond of the heart. Now she'll find out the truth.
 

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Funny and deeply affecting, this novel by the Steptoe Award winner for Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything in It (2007) revisits the still largely unexplored world of multiracial heritage...Frazier highlights the contradictions, absurdities, humor and pain that accompany life as a mixed-race tween. Never didactic, this is the richest portrait of multiracial identity and family since Virginia Hamilton's 1976 novel Arilla Sun Down. An outstanding achievement."
-Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"A novel with a great deal of heart indeed..."
- Booklist, starred review

From the Hardcover edition.

VOYA - Ruth Cox Clark
Frazier, a John Steptoe New Talent Award-winning author, delves into the lives of biracial eleven-year-old sisters — light skinned Minni and dark-skinned Keira. Minni is the quiet and reserved twin, whereas Keira inherited their Irish father's feisty spirit. Growing up on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State means Minni blends in at school, but Keira does not. At the request of their maternal grandmother, the twins visit North Carolina to participate in Miss Black Pearl, a competition for African American girls. As she feared, Minni is told that she doesn't belong there by an ill-mannered contestant, but Keira comes to her sister's defense. A shame-faced Minni realizes that she has never come to Keira's defense when skin color-related incidents have happened to her. The relationship between the sisters gets tense and Minni seeks solace from her grandmother's arch nemesis — Miss Oliphant, whose skin is almost as light as Minni's. When Minni asks, "Do you consider yourself more black or white?" Miss Oliphant replies, "I contain multitudes.... [b]ut I consider myself black." Why? "Because that's what fits my soul." Minni comes to realize what fits her soul is that she is a mixture of black and white, of her mother and father, and of all the people who came before her. And just as importantly, it is okay for Keira to answer differently. What truly matters is that they will always be sisters. Although a bit heavy with didacticism, Frazier brings to life two unique sisters whose love for each other overcomes all obstacles put between them. Reviewer: Ruth Cox Clark
Children's Literature - Sarah Maury Swan
Most of the novels I review are in the "okay" category, but every once in a while I get a stunner to read. This is a stunner. Eleven-year-old twins Minni (Minerva) and Keira King have been turning heads all their lives since Minni is red haired and fair skinned like Daddy and Keira is dark haired and dark skinned like Mama. People are always mistaking them as just being friends, instead of twin sisters and best friends. Nobody thinks of Minni as being black, so she feels left out of the family. Things get even more complicated when their maternal grandmother insists they compete in the Miss Black Pearl Preteen of America Pageant/Program in Atlanta, Georgia—a world away from their small town in Washington state. Even Mama spends as little time as possible talking with her mother; how are the girls going to deal living with her house for ten whole days? Minni doesn't want to go, but Keira is thrilled to be in the pageant just like Mama was. The pageant organizers almost don't let Minni enter since she looks so white, but Grandmother prevails and Minni learns a song for the talent part. In the meantime, Grandmother works on making Keira "whiter." Minni learns that Keira has always felt like an outsider at home since there are few black people in their town. Because Minni is the whitest girl in the pageant, she understands Keira's pain, something she had never realized before. In the end Minni develops enough courage to confront Grandmother about her unfair treatment of Keira. Their grandmother explains what it was like growing up in the south before desegregation and how hurt she was when she discovered her blackness was holding back her lighter skinned grandmother. Reviewer: Sarah Maury Swan
Kirkus Reviews
Funny and deeply affecting, this novel by the Steptoe Award winner for Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything in It (2007) revisits the still largely unexplored world of multiracial heritage. Twin daughters of a black mom and white dad, Minerva and Keira King, 11, fly from Washington State to North Carolina to stay with oppressive Grandmother Johnson and compete in the Miss Black Pearl Preteen pageant. The narrator, shy Minni, who appears white, is reluctant; outgoing Keira, who appears black, is thrilled. Back home, Minni has unknowingly benefited from white privilege, while Keira's appearance has subjected her to bias. In North Carolina, Keira fits in, and Minni stands out. Although she's favored by their grandmother, Minni's white appearance leads others to question her right to identify as black. As their experience of race threatens to divide the sisters, Minni struggles to heal the rift. Frazier highlights the contradictions, absurdities, humor and pain that accompany life as a mixed-race tween. Never didactic, this is the richest portrait of multiracial identity and family since Virginia Hamilton's 1976 novel Arilla Sun Down. An outstanding achievement. (Fiction. 9-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440240068
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 6/14/2011
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 206,852
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Sundee T. Frazier is the author of Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything in It, for which she received the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award. As a teen, she was crowned Miss Palouse Empire and was first runner-up in the Washington State Junior Miss Program (not pageant). Learn more about her and her books at www.sundeefrazier.com.

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Read an Excerpt

Mama was always pointing out that of the millions of genes that made them all human, only seven or eight told their skin what color to be. A minuscule number, she said. A very small difference.
 
So that was what Minni chose to believe, even though somewhere deep inside her brain, in a little drawer she rarely let herself open, lived the concern that the difference she'd been assured didn't matter actually mattered a lot.
 
She squeezed her sister's hand and made an early birthday wish: May nothing ever, ever come between Keira and me. Nothing—big or small.
 

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 20 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(15)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 23, 2011

    Wow!

    One of the best books i have ever read!!! Great!!!!!!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2012

    Love it(:

    This bookk is so good! I orginally read it because i had to for battle of the books at school and i'm so glad i did! A must-read!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 25, 2011

    Best book on earth

    Read this book im twelve and i will never forget it i recemmended it to everyone any girl and boy will love it. I got in trouble for reading so late. READ THIS BOOK!!!!!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2012

    Evokes deep emotion

    Funny, warm, life changingly brilliant.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2013

    It was an outstanding book and it really helps look at things in

    It was an outstanding book and it really helps look at things in way you never have before and really helped put you in other people's shoes. It was so emotional and couldn't put it down!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    Never

    Read it

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    ok

    im reading this and i am bored to tears. Im reading this for Battle of the Books at my school or otherwise i would of dropped it. Sure it has a good message, but its not my kind of book

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2013

    So good!!!:)

    Im reading this right now and I'm on chapter 1. I'm already in LOVE!!!<3 A one of my best friends recommended it to me today and even if it is $6.00 its pretty good! I'm REALLY excited to read more of it!!!! Its an MCBA book this year in Massachusetts and I'm so happy it is because I'll have a different reason to read it as well!! :) I recommend this book to ANYONE! As a fifth grade girl, I find this book TRAMENDOUSLY good! Good luck to any readers out there taking a risk to read this great book! ;)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2013

    Awesome Book

    This book is full of emoition
    This book is loaded with a huge amount of emotion and trust.
    It was one of the best books ever wrote.




    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2014

    A good and funny book

    Very funny. I am almost done with the book. Grandmother johnson is very enteraining. I reccomend it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2014

    I love it

    Get it now

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2013

    The worlds best book!

    I love this book it is a great story that i wish i could read over and over again!it had a great topic and i love how the two sisters stood for what they new they shiuld and not giving up being downers.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2013

    Minni and Keira are biracial twins.  They both are facing troubl

    Minni and Keira are biracial twins.  They both are facing troubles in their life.  Keira doesn’t fit in, in Washington where they originally grew up.  Their Grandmother Johnson enters them in an African American pageant called the Miss Black Pearl Pageant.  When they go to their grandmother’s house in Raleigh, North Carolina to compete in the pageant, Minni gets picked on at the pageant because she is white and everybody else is African American. 




    This book was a very interesting book, it could be a very great book for people who like to read about racism.  The author of this book  is really great because he takes a story about two young girls like me and turns it into a magnificent story about the relationship between these two sisters.        








    One of the girls appears to be white and the other appears to be black.  Both girls are seen differently when they are actually twins.  They seem to struggle with what other people say and do to them.  This story shows how the girls unite to overcome all the bad stuff people say to them.  
    This book is about how the girls are struggling in their lives due to the fact that they are biracial.  This book shows how the girls try to overcome their struggles in a time of racism.  

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2012

    To hailey...

    Hi its emma i already read this book and why did u recommend to me "sex possisions"

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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