A collection of short stories that brilliantly capture defining moments in the lives of a diverse group of American children and teens.
First published in 1993, this updated anthology, with 12 out of the 20 stories new to this edition, is a series of snapshots of the lives of youth growing up in the United States. From the black kindergartner in Edward P. Jones’ “The First Day” to the 11-year-old Winnebago girl in Susan Power’s “Drum Kiss” to the teenage daughter of Israeli immigrants in Rivka Galchen’s “Yiddische Baby,” the characters span a broad range of stages of childhood. The protagonists are as diverse as the authors, and the contributions vary in length and narrative structure; some of the shortest and most experimental—such as Justin Torres’ “Heritage”—are the most poetic and powerful. Although some stories date from the 1940s to the ’80s, characters grapple with timeless issues like divorce, loss, jealousy, and unrequited love, and the voices feel fresh and authentic. Refreshingly, most of the protagonists express a deep but conflicted love of their families and heritages, resulting in nuanced narratives that feel honest and relevant. Unfortunately, while the collection features racial, ethnic, religious, and class diversity, it features no queer or disabled characters. The prominent list of contributors includes Sandra Cisneros, Gish Jen, Langston Hughes, Gary Soto, and Naomi Shihab Nye.
A lyrical, poignant collection of voices that reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of modern America. (about the authors) (Anthology. 12-adult)