Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

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Adapted for young readers by Rebecca Stefoff

A longtime professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, Ronald Takaki was recognized as one of the foremost scholars of American ethnic history and diversity. When the first edition of A Different Mirror was published in 1993, Publisher's Weekly called it "a brilliant revisionist history of America that is likely to become a classic of multicultural studies" and named it one of the ten best books of the year. Now Rebecca Stefoff, who adapted Howard Zinn's bestselling A People's History of the United States for younger readers, turns the updated 2008 edition of Takaki's multicultural masterwork into A Different Mirror for Young People.

Drawing on Takaki's vast array of primary sources, and staying true to his own words whenever possible, A Different Mirror for Young People brings ethnic history alive through the words of people, including teenagers, who recorded their experiences in letters, diaries, and poems. Like Zinn's A People's History, Takaki's A Different Mirror for Young People offers a rich and rewarding "people's view" perspective on the American story.

Check out our A Different Mirror for Young People Teaching Guide here.

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A Different Mirror advances a truly humane sense of American possibility.”

“The 'mirror' that Ronald Takaki holds up to the United States reflects a multicultural history of oppression and exploitation, but also struggle, solidarity, and community. In the most profound sense, this is a people's history of our country. Takaki shows what has torn us apart, yet what knits us together. This Young People's version of A Different Mirror will introduce a new generation to Takaki's pathbreaking scholarship.”

A Different Mirror is a splendid achievement, a bold and refreshing new approach to our national history. The research is meticulous, the writing powerful and eloquent, with what can only be called an epic sweep across time and cultures.”

“This 375-page book would be an excellent way to include multi-ethnic materials in the classroom as a way to ensure that your students see their unique identities reflected in their coursework.”

blog — September 17

Teach A People's History

 
Who needs Trump's 1776 Commission? Certainly not us. Kids deserve more than nationalist propaganda. They deserve to learn a complete history of the United States of the people and for the people. And we can help.

 
To teach a people’s history is to consider the historical perspective of the marginalized and the oppressed. It is to acknowledge the historical impact of people from all backgrounds; to share the groundbreaking cultural and political contributions of everyday people, not just the stories promoted by (and beneficial to) those in power. When we teach history from this perspective, we can uncover a better understanding of how our present came to be. By sharing these stories, we equip children with the foundation needed to make lasting, meaningful change in our society –– for the good of all of us.

Young people have been making important contributions to history for centuries. To take a few examples from Howard Zinn's A Young People's History of the United States: There's Anyokah, the child who helped bring written language to her Cherokee people. There are the young laborers who—to the benefit of their peers toiling in cotton mills, canneries, and mines—stood up for themselves with the National Child Labor Committee's Declaration of Dependence. And there's John Tinker, the high school student who fought all the way to the Supreme Court for freedom of expression at school—and won. Our mission with the For Young People series is not to talk down to the young, but to make accessible versions of some of the best books around, and thereby giving young people the facts and inspiration they may need in order to lift their voices up.

For more teaching resources, visit:

Zinn Education Project

Teaching for Change

Free Teaching Guides, Lesson Plans, & Other Resources

A Young People's History of the United States Lesson Plan

1493 for Young People: From Columbus's Voyage to Globalization

A Different Mirror for Young People Teaching Guide

Eiffel's Tower for Young People Teaching Guide

A Road Map to Howard Zinn's Writings Published by Seven Stories Press

Ink Knows No Borders Teaching Guide

Martha and the Slave Catchers Teaching Guide 

  

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Ronald Takaki (1939–2009) is recognized as one of the foremost scholars of American ethnic history. Born and raised in Oahu, Hawaii, the descendent of Japanese immigrant field workers, Takaki became the first member of his family to receive higher education, attending The College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio, and later receiving a doctorate in history from the University of California, Berkeley. Takaki has said that he was “born intellectually and politically” during this period in Berkeley in the 1960s. His PhD dissertation was on the subject of slavery in America, and he went on to teach the first black history course at the University of California, Los Angeles, in the aftermath of the Watts riots. Returning to Berkeley, Takaki helped found the nation’s first ethnic studies department and rose to national prominence publishing works on the history of immigration and the understanding of ethnicity in the Americas. His 1989 title Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Takaki died in 2009.