Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Namioka's Half and Half

Like Hot Sour Salty Sweet, this is a book about one event in a girl's life during which ethnic identity is tested. Like the aforementioned book, even though it's a bit odd, it works.

Fiona Cheng has a Chinese father and a Scottish mother. She looks more Chinese; her brother looks more Scottish. How does she identify herself on forms? And more importantly, how can she understand both sides of her ethnic heritage and make all of her relatives happy?

Set against a multicultural festival, Fiona must choose between helping out her father when he is presenting a new book, and her Scottish grandfather, who needs another dancer. Both events are conveniently (for the plot) scheduled at the same time, and Fiona must come up with a clever solution to make everyone happy.

This is a short book, but I did enjoy it. Since middle school is so much about identity, many students will like this, even if their ethnicity does not exactly coincide with Fiona's.

Have a new shipment of hi/lo readers in. On the plus side, Geoff Edgers' Who Was Elvis Presley and Who Were the Beatles were nice, succinct introductions to these influential musicians. Actual pictures would have been a nice addition, but students who do not know much about these artists might be inclined to learn more after reading these quick picks.

On the horrifying side, volume 2 of R. L. Stine's Goosbumps "Graphix" tales was included. I did not pick this out. There will be lots of traffic on this one, but it's .... everything that is morally repugnant to most librarians. Tacky, ill-done, stupid....I will let it stay as a testament to the fact that I will allow graphic novels in my library, although I usually go for ones that are MUCH better quality than this.


  1. You're letting it *stay*? What about talking to those who check it out, asking them to compare it to ... another graphic novel that is better written ... and see if they think it's really worth keeping? Give it a few weeks or so? :-P

  2. Yeah. It's not really mine to give away, since another department ordered it. Absolutely, I'll make sure the students who read this get other literature as well. It's been a long and rocky summer with Mr. Stine!