The Multicultural Minute #8: Biracial Middle Grade and YA

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In Multicultrual Minute #4 a few weeks ago, I promised to do an episode on books for older readers featuring characters who were biracial. I am nothing if not true to my word, so here it is:

Books mentioned in this episode:

Black Mirror by Nancy Werlin
Middle grade thriller/mystery featuring a half-Japanese, half-Jewish girl.

Bobby Versus Girls (Accidentally) by Lisa Yee
Middle grade humor featuring a half-Chinese, half-white boy. (Race not a foreground theme.)

Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything Else In It by Sundee T. Frazier
Middle grade realistic fiction exploring racial themes around a boy who is half-black and half- white.

Half and Half by Lensey Namioka
Middle grade fiction about a girl's difficulties with choosing between her Chinese heritage and her Scottish heritage.

The House You Pass on the Way by Jacqueline Woodson
YA coming of age story exploring a half-black and half-white girl's experience with racism, homosexuality, and family.

Mexican White Boy by Matt de la Pena
YA novel featuring a half-Mexican, half-white boy who deals with many issues, including racial discrimination.

Monsoon Summer by Mitali Perkins
YA novel about a half-Indian, half-white girl who travels to India with her mother and discovers a lot about herself and racial perceptions.

Nothing But the Truth (and a Few White Lies) by Justina Chen Headley
YA novel about a half-Taiwanese, half-white girl who learns to celebrate her "hapa" status when she spends a summer at camp.

Outside Beauty by Cynthia Kadohata
Middle grade novel about a single-parent family where all the sisters share their Japanese mother but each have a different father. While race is not the central issue, their truly multicultural family plays a large role in shaping their characters.

The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex
Middle grade humor/science fiction in which the main character is half-black and half-white. Race is not a central issue, though discrimination by an alien race is.


I've got one more for your fantastic list...

Jeff Stone's CRANE
YA novel about a half-Chinese, half-Dutch warrior monk girl in the 1600s who is looking for her roots while fighting for her life.

The Indigo Notebook by Laura Resau (younger YA) features a protagonist who is half white and half unidentified ethnicity (might sound odd, but central to the character's background); she has dark skin.

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Blog Contributors

Renee Ting is the President and Publisher of Shen's Books. She is the author of The Prince's Diary and the blog, Renee's Book of the Day.

Emily Jiang is a writer of children's and YA literature. She also blogs at TLeaf Readings.

Shen’s Books is a publisher of multicultural children’s literature that emphasizes cultural diversity and tolerance, with a focus on introducing children to the cultures of Asia.

Through books, we can share a world a stories, building greater understanding and tolerance within our increasingly diverse communities as well as throughout our continuously shrinking globe.


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