Thursday, May 10, 2012

Black, White, Other... / Joan Steinau Lester


TITLEBlack, White, Other: In Search of Nina Armstrong
AUTHOR Joan Steinau Lester

Nina's mother is white, her father is black, and her younger brother Jimi is a spitting image of their father. Where does that leave her? Is she black, white or other?

When Nina enters ninth grade, things start to change. Race riots take place nearby and racial tensions arise at her school and among her friends. It all prompts Nina to think about where she fits in. Does it really matter what color her skin is and if it does matter, why is she just noticing it now?

Learning about an ancestor on her father's side who was a slave helps Nina find perspective. But will Nina be able to determine who she is, keep the peace with her family, and keep her BFF? In order for Nina to find peace, she must take a journey (both figuratively and literally) to figure out who she truly is, black, white, other...

M's Verdict: Good read! The story was a relevant coming of age tale that not many books address so well. Perhaps the story may have been more authentic coming from someone who was biracial and was able to give the story a more personal touch, however I did enjoy it. Nina is a believable chigh school student with a typical HS friend whose your BFF one day and then the friend of your enemy. I liked how Nina's father's book about their slave ancestry gave the reader a historical look into the past and compared situations in Nina's realistic and present world to the world of a slave. This book would be a great transition into historical fiction and would provide any teen with a great story on figuring out who you are and how your family stories help to shape who you become.

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