>> Something About America (2007)

Title: Something About America

Author: Maria Testa

Genre: Teens

Publisher: Candlewick

Pages: 96

Release Date: August 28, 2007

Rating: 3.80 (out of 4.00)

Grade: A-

There is no need for complicated words and vocabulary to express one’s feelings. The words in “Something About America” are fourth and fifth grade level, however, it does not make this book less effective for readers to appreciate.  The fictional narrator, a 13 year-old girl who is an immigrant from Kosova, Yugoslavia, tells her experience and her thoughts in poetic form. Ten years ago she and her family fled Kosovo due to the war.

She often writes about her father who disapproves of the American lifestyle. He was an electrical engineer in Kosovo, but in the US he and his wife work at a food processing plant. He does not like almost anything about the US, from the US foreign policies to American TV programs. He is frustrated watching his daughter become more and more Americanized while he feels that he is just another refugee in this country. “Mad About America” is a perfect example reflecting his personalities and opinions.

Her mom finds herself between the two opinions and points of view, and the tensions in the family get increasingly worse. Her views are different from the fathers’, and while she does not reveal them to the daughter, the daughter still knows her mom good enough to see what is going on in her mind.

Although this book is about politics, racism, family conflicts, stereotypes and cultural differences, it is easy to read and understand, and the author Maria Testa effectively describes a child’s life touched by war. I felt as if this was a non-fiction book and the girl was real.

I definitely recommend “Something About America” to middle school and Jr. high school students. This book will help students to see and understand the conflicts that immigrants face, and will lead to a great classroom discussion.

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