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By Hazel Rochman

Opposed to Borders: selling Books for a Multicultural international [Paperback]

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She writes about betrayal, as well as courage. About people. Ethnicity, Universals, and a Sense of Place Of course it's great to read about your own culture and recognize yourself in a book, especially if you have felt marginalized and demonized. The writer Jamaica Kincaid, who grew up in Antigua, talks about the joy she felt when she first read the books of fellow Caribbean Derek Walcott (the 1992 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature): "I thought we were just the riffraff of the British Empire until I read this man and thought: 'Oh yes, that is me.

That's what will grab kids and touch them deeplyand make them want to read. A good story is rich with ambiguity. You sympathize with people of all kinds. Read Anne Fine's funny YA novels, like My War with Goggle-Eyes, and you get swept up into furious family quarrels about relationships and about ideas, where neither side wins. The best books glory in conflict. This is especially so with political themes, where everything can degenerate into propaganda if the characters become mouthpieces for worthy ideas.

Ethnic cleansing is the current euphemism: it's an attack on multiculturalism, and it isn't funny at all. C. of multiculturalism but also the backlash. As with that other current fad, whole language, the pretentious jargon is only now catching up with what we've been doing all alongteaching and sharing great books from everywhere, stories that grab us and extend our view of ourselves. Growing up in South Africa, I didn't think that anyone could write a good story about where I lived. I was an avid reader, but books were about English girls in boarding school or lovers running wild on the windy moors.

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