Intercultural Book Review: Amy Hodgepodge
I am excited to share a great kids book series with you today, called Amy Hodgepodge, written by Kim Wayans and Kevin Knotts. Amy and her friends are all multicultural and it is good to see them! I am a multicultural kid, and it is rare to see other multicultural kids in books. I liked seeing the different ways that multiracial kids can look and how their families are. I felt like I could understand these kids, no matter what their family background!
We rcently read one of the Amy Hodgepodge books, entitled Amy Hodgepodge: The Secret's Out. In this book, Amy and her friends are all working on a great art project. Amy's friend Pia tells her a secret, and Amy blurts out the secret to her friend. Pretty soon, the whole class knows Pia's secret and Pia feels betrayed. "A secret told is trust lost," Amy's Harabujy (Korean for Grandfather) tells her. Amy works out how to apologize and move forward with her best friends. The best part? At the end, Amy's friend Maya says, "The most important thing is that we all learned our lesson, right? Friends sometimes make mistakes, and we have to learn to forgive one another. So from now on, we'll stay Five Best Friends foerver!" I like that the kids all learned how to get along and work through their problems. This is an important lesson!
I also really liked the illustrations by Soo Jeong. All of the kids look very different from each other, yet find common ground. I was happy to see the illustrations that went along with the stories, so that I could visualize Amy and her friends in my mind.
My mom and I were lucky enough to talk with Kim Wayans and Kevin Knotts, the authors of the Amy Hodgepodge series. They are also actors (and married). They live in LA, California. There are 5 published books in their Amy Hodgepodge series - we LOVE reading them!! Here's what they had to say...
WE: Please tell us about your book series, Amy Hodgepodge...
KW & KK: AMY HODGEPODGE is a ground-breaking series that revolves around a multiracial girl named Amy Hodges, who is given the nickname "Amy Hodgepodge" when her friends discover she is African American, Caucasian, Japanese and Korean. After being homeschooled her entire life, Amy starts fourth-grade at a new Charter school. The series chronicles her adventures making friends and adjusting to life in a new city.
WE: What was the inspiration for Amy Hodgepodge?
KW & KK: The series was inspired by our nieces and nephews, many of whom are multiracial, and by our desire to see more diversity in mainstream children's literature.
WE: How do you come up with new storylines for the Amy Hodgepodge series?
KW & KK: For the most part, we keep our ears wide open whenever we spend time with our nieces and nephews. Their conversations are a never-ending source of storylines. In addition, from time to time we'll borrow a page from our own childhoods and craft a story based on something we remember having experienced.
WE: Each Amy Hodgepodge book teaches an important lesson. You've got an important mix of learning and culture. What has been the response from multicultural kids to your books? (We love them!)
KW & KK: The response from children of all races has been amazing, since the stories are so universal. But multicultural kids, in particular, are especially thrilled to have these literary role models. As you know, all children hunger to see positive images of themselves reflected back to them in the world at large.
WE: What's up next for Amy Hodgepodge?
KW & KK: Well, book number six "Digging Up Trouble" comes out in May 2010. It's one of our favorite books thus far, and we can't wait to see how our readers respond. We're also looking into opportunities to turn AMY HODGEPODGE into an animated series. So we'll see.
WE: Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
KW & KK: We have a website for children, parents and educators to visit to learn more about AMY HODGEPODGE and her friends.
Please visit at www.amyhodgepodge.com
and join our Amy Hodgepodge fan page on FACEBOOK.
WE: Thanks so much, Kim and Kevin! I hope that you write many, many more Amy Hodgepodge books. I love seeing how kids of all different colors and backgrounds work together and have fun. And, I like how on your website you share photos and quotes from kids who love your books. FUN!
L Forteau (7) is the Special Children's Reporter for Wandering Educators.