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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 — November 10

The Summer that Changed America

The newest addition to the For Young People series is a gripping account of the summer that changed America.

In the summer of 1964, as the Civil Rights movement boiled over, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) sent more than 700 college students to Mississippi to help black Americans already battling segregation, voter disenfranchisement, and other Jim Crow legacies. This campaign was called “Freedom Summer.” But on the evening after volunteers arrived, three young civil rights workers went missing, presumed victims of the Ku Klux Klan.

In the days and weeks that followed, volunteers and local black activists faced intimidation, threats, and violence from white people who didn't believe African Americans should have the right to vote. As the summer unfolded, volunteers were arrested or beaten. Black churches were burned. More Americans came to Mississippi, including doctors, clergymen, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to teach the community's Freedom Schools, registering voters, and living with black people as equals. Freedom Summer brought out the best and the worst in America. The story told within these pages is of everyday people fighting for freedom, a fight that continues today. Freedom Summer for Young People is a riveting account of a decisive moment in American history, sure to move and inspire readers.

Available in hardcover, paperback, and digital editions.

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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.