Negotiating Identity in America

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The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother by James McBride. This memoir explores various aspects of personal identity through stories of the author's mother and of his own experiences growing up in Brooklyn's Red Hook projects. Grappling with his own identity, McBride, as an adult, persuaded his mother to tell her story---of a Rabbi's daughter, born in Poland and raised in the South, who fled to Harlem, married a black man, founded a Baptist church, and put twelve children to college. The Color of Water is a tribute to a remarkable and determined mother,  and a large, contentious family, and an exploration of the many ways to be an American.



Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. This historical novel is about the Japanese internment during WWII. Set in the Pacific Northwest, it is a story of loyalty--to one's country and to one's culture, traditions, and family. It is also a a story of the immigrant experience, how politics and war can question and shape one's identity, and the power that individuals have to create their own place in the world.