Black, White, Other    -     By: Joan Steinau Lester
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Black, White, Other

Zondervan / 2011 / Hardcover

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Product Description

Joan Steinau Lester's book for young adults looks that the emotional and social experience of Nina, a teen girl living in LA who feels caught between two worlds-the "white" world of her mother and the "black" world of her father. This nowhere land of race becomes harder to navigate when the support system her parents offered is upended by their divorce. As Nina feels caught between two equal identities, racial tensions rise in her school and community. Even Nina's faith seems to fail her-how can she cling to God and the songs of the church when God's image in her seems twisted? When Nina discovers a book her father is writing about Sarah, her great-great grandmother who escaped from slavery on the Underground Railroad, Nina finds someone who can understand her feelings of being trapped in an upside-down world. But will those stories be enough to guide Nina through the pressures she now faces?

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 208
Vendor: Zondervan
Publication Date: 2011
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0310727634
ISBN-13: 9780310727637
Availability: Usually ships in 24-48 hours.

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Publisher's Description

"The tenderness and truth of the book moved my heart. As well as the enormous love." - Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Color Purple Identity Crisis. As a biracial teen, Nina is accustomed to a life of varied hues—mocha-colored skin, ringed brown hair streaked with red, a darker brother, a black father, a white mother. When her parents decide to divorce, the rainbow of Nina’s existence is reduced to a much starker reality. Shifting definitions and relationships are playing out all around her, and new boxes and lines seem to be getting drawn every day. Between the fractures within her family and the racial tensions splintering her hometown, Nina feels caught in a perpetual battle. Feeling stranded in the nowhere land between racial boundaries, and struggling for personal independence and identity, Nina turns to the story of her great-great-grandmother’s escape from slavery. Is there direction in the tale of her ancestor? Can Nina build her own compass when landmarks from her childhood stop guiding the way?

Author Bio

Joan Steinau Lester, Ed.D., is the author of three nonfiction books for adults, the most recent being Fire in My Soul, a civil rights biography of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. The former executive director of the Equity Institute, a national diversity consulting firm, she is a frequent NPR commentator and print columnist, as well as a finalist for both the 2010 Bellwether Prize and 2011 Arts & Letters Susan Atefat Prize in Creative Nonfiction. Black, White, Other: In Search of Nina Armstrong is her debut novel for young adults.

Publisher's Weekly

Like the current U.S. president, Nina Armstrong is biracial. Unlike him, the character is a teenager, and her black father, Silas, and white mother, Maggie, have decided to divorce. Nina lives with Maggie, a lefty whose family roots are in union organizing; her little brother, Jimi, lives with his dad, who is busy rediscovering his African-American roots, which include an enslaved great-grandmother Sarah, whose story Silas is writing. Nina is emotionally, socially, and historically conflicted: who is she, and whose is she? She's got white friends and black friends who inhabit different peer worlds, and the family tension shapes everything. Lester (Fire in My Soul) conjures a credible plot and complications; divorce is a fact of life and racially mixed heritage is conspicuously becoming one. The simple contrapuntal narrative of Sarah Armstrong's escaping slavery distinguishes the book emotionally and psychologically, raising it above other issue-oriented YA novels. Lester writes with social sensitivity and an ear for teen language and concerns. This is engaging treatment of a challenging subject that comes with little precedent. Ages 12┬ľup. (Sept.) Copyright 2011 Reed Business Information.

Editorial Reviews

Like the current U.S. president, Nina Armstrong is biracial. Unlike him, the character is a teenager, and her black father, Silas, and white mother, Maggie, have decided to divorce. Nina lives with Maggie, a lefty whose family roots are in union organizing; her little brother, Jimi, lives with his dad, who is busy rediscovering his African-American roots, which include an enslaved great-grandmother Sarah, whose story Silas is writing. Nina is emotionally, socially, and historically conflicted: who is she, and whose is she? She’s got white friends and black friends who inhabit different peer worlds, and the family tension shapes everything. Lester (Fire in My Soul) conjures a credible plot and complications; divorce is a fact of life and racially mixed heritage is conspicuously becoming one. The simple contrapuntal narrative of Sarah Armstrong’s escaping slavery distinguishes the book emotionally and psychologically, raising it above other issue-oriented YA novels. Lester writes with social sensitivity and an ear for teen language and concerns. This is engaging treatment of a challenging subject that comes with little precedent.

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  1. Blooming with Books
    Bloomer, WI
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Embrace the Otherness of Humanity-in this A+ read
    July 28, 2011
    Blooming with Books
    Bloomer, WI
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    BLACK, WHITE, OTHER

    In Search of Nina Armstrong

    By Joan Steinau Lester

    Fifteen year old Nina Armstrong's world is all topsy turvy. Her parents are no longer together. She lives with her mother who's white and her brother Jimi lives with their father who's black. Suddenly Nina's friends are trying to make her choose who she'll be friends with. Will she choose black or will she choose white? Who will she identify with? Or will she do as Saundra told her and embrace her otherness and live with everyone?

    As Nina discovers her great-great grandmother Sarah Armstrong, through her father's research, will she discover herself as well? At 15 Sarah, whose own family was shattered by slavery, makes an escape to freedom, will she help Nina break the bonds of fear.

    Black, White, Other is an engaging read that would be beneficial to most teens. As Nina learns the truth about herself she takes readers on a journey of self-discovery. Are you only the skin you are born in? Or is your true self hidden beneath waiting from you to discover it?

    At the end of Black, White, Other there are discussion questions, a follow-up actions section, a glossary of terms, and a list of sources. As Nina's mother said race is "not real" we are all one race, the human race!

    Advanced Reader Copy provided by Z Street Team reviews
  2. scruggle
    Georgia
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    MUST buy for biracial teens!
    July 16, 2011
    scruggle
    Georgia
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    In the book, "Black, White, Other: In Search of Nina Armstrong", the author, Joan Steinau Lester explores the lives of a modern day bi-racial teenager and the life of her great great grandmother, a slave who found her way to freedom. Nina, the main character, is going through the changes of divorce and entering her first year of high school. With everything going on around her, Nina starts to question her identity. She wonders, "Am I black? Or am I white?". She goes on a soul-searching journey, hoping to discover who she really is.

    "Black, White, Other" is the author's first fiction novel. This book is intended for young teens but I can tell you that this is one of those kids books that you will want to share with your child! I love that there is an actual story within the story (that is based on truth!). The story within is as interesting as the main storyline. My favorite things about this book are that it is completely safe for any young teen to read. My son is 11 years old and bi-racial so I was really hoping that this would be a good book to share with him. I was not disappointed! There are a few stereotypes written about both races in order to present the story accurately but they are also dispelled within the story. There is no bad language and the religious parts of the book are respectful to all religions. There is actually a visit to a Catholic Church that contributes greatly to the story!

    There are not enough great things I can say about this book. There are not enough books written to help biracial children learn about themselves. If you are raising a teen of any race, I recommend this book. If you are raising a biracial teen, this one is a must read!!

    This book was offered to me free of charge in exchange for my honest review.
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