Kimchi & Calamari

by Rose Kent

Fourteen-year-old Joseph Calderaro is having an identity crisis thanks to a school... read more

Fourteen-year-old Joseph Calderaro is having an identity crisis thanks to a school assignment to write about his ancestors. Adopted as a baby from Korea, Joseph is interested in writing about his Korean ancestors, even though he worries about hurting his Italian American parents’ feelings. A growing friendship with a Korean student at his school gives Joseph the opportunity to learn about Korean traditions and customs but also reminds him how little he knows about his background and culture. After a promising lead from an online inquiry leaves Joseph certain he’s tracked down at least one member of his birth family, he discovers that both family and heritage are things that cannot be defined by blood alone. Rose Kent’s story is one with substance but refreshingly buoyant at the same time. Joseph is able to explore big questions about who he is from a place of security in the midst of a realistic (and therefore not perfect), loving family. (Ages 10–13)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2008

show less