Thursday, August 09, 2007

Kimchi and Calamari by Rose Kent

Have you ever felt out of place in your own family? Have you wondered if there is any place where you really do fit in? 14 year-old Joseph Calderaro knows these feelings well. While he loves his Italian-American adoptive family, the differences between them and his native Korean culture are becoming more and more apparent. Then, his social studies teacher assigns an essay on ancestry that becomes an impetus for Joseph to search for information about his birth family and the events leading to his abandonment. His adoptive parents are not much help, (they don’t have much more information themselves), and at first his father seems threatened by Joseph’s questions. So Joseph decides to pretend that a famous Korean Olympic athlete was his grandfather, and writes an essay that wins a school award. His lie is discovered and he is forced to rewrite the paper, prompting Joseph to make a more thorough search for his birth family. This is a great book, I really liked Joseph right from the beginning, and although his father has a hard time understanding Joseph’s confusion, it is clear that he loves him. This book hits home in communicating Joseph’s need to have his own identity, separate from that of his family, and does so with humor and warmth. Highly recommended. Review by Jane Malmberg.

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