Audience: Children, Younger Teens
Kimchi and calamari. It sounds like a quirky food fusion of Korean and Italian cuisine, and it's exactly how Joseph Calderaro feels about himself. Why wouldn't an adopted Korean drummer-comic book junkie feel like a combo platter given:
(1) his face in the mirrorAnd now Joseph has to write an essay about his ancestors for social studies. All he knows is that his birth family shipped his diapered butt on a plane to the USA. End of story. But what he writes leads to a catastrophe messier than a table of shattered dishes—and self-discovery that Joseph never could have imagined.
(2) his proud Italian family.
Kimchi & Calamari reminded me of Far From the Tree, but for a younger audience. Joseph struggled with his Korean and Italian backgrounds and wanted to learn more about his birth family. He had a hard time talking to his parents about it, though. He was caring and as a result, made a big mistake at school (that I think should have been discussed a bit more.) However, he did not give up on his research. Like people his age, he got his hopes up when he thought he found something. I enjoyed the ending of the book, but it really does set up for a sequel if the author is so inclined!