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My Sisters' Voices

Teenage Girls of Color Speak Out

Iris Jacob

Holt Paperbacks

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ISBN10: 080506821X
ISBN13: 9780805068214

Trade Paperback

272 Pages



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My Sisters' Voices is a passionate and poignant collection of writings from teenage girls of African American, Hispanic, Asian American, Native American, and biracial backgrounds. With candor and grace, they speak out on topics that are relevant not only to themselves and their peers but to anyone who is raising, teaching, or nurturing young women of color.

As adolescents, women, and minorities, these young authors represent a demographic that has had no voice of its own, a group often spoken for but rarely given the opportunity to be heard. Now, in My Sisters' Voices, they have a chance to stand up and be counted. In the more than one hundred essays and poems in this remarkable collection you'll find personal and inspiring stories about family, friendships, sex, love, racism, loss, and oppression. There's a Native American girl writing about the bumps in her relationship with her best friend, who's white; a Korean American girl who wishes she could help her mother understand that it's okay to socialize with boys as well as girls; and a biracial girl who feels she must be the designated spokesperson for blacks when she's around whites, for whites when she's around blacks, and for biracial people around everyone.

These young authors openly and candidly tell their stories: they express their fears, they write of love and hope, and they demand respect. My Sisters' Voices is essential reading for a generation of girls struggling to define themselves in a world that keeps trying to do it for them.


Praise for My Sisters' Voices

"We come from all different ethnic, cultural, and spiritual traditions. We are immigrants, some of us. We are beauties, inner and outer. We are heroines. We are winners, every one of us. We are poets. We are the present. And, make no mistake, we are the future."—Iris Jacob, from the Introduction

"A powerful peek into the lives of teens at a crossroad—girls on the cusp of womanhood grappling with racism, sexism, heritage, poverty, family and self-image in a world where they are largely unheard."—Chicago Tribune

"A volume that intersperses short poems and prose selections written by teens of color from all over the country . . . The writers speak about the issues that matter most to teens (self-image, family, sex, love, abuse, pride, education, courage, race, and beauty), and Jacob's voice in her general introduction is clear and completely her own—direct, insightful, angry, and alternately adolescent and adult. Teens will be the largest audience for this, but adult browsers will find the range of voices and experiences enlightening."—Booklist

"A collection of honest, insightful essays."—The San Diego Union-Tribune

"My Sisters' Voices highlights the beautiful, brave voices of our much silenced young women. This book is especially exciting because Jacob not only wants to broadcast the hopes, fears and realities of young women of color—she wants them to hear each other and come together . . . Alternately heartbreaking and empowering . . . The book seems to embody community."—AsianWeek

"Poignant and often brutally honest, [the essays] touch on issues from pride and family to abuse, courage, education and love."—Penelope M. Carrington, Richmond Times-Dispatch

"This work should encourage discussions about diversity and let teens know that they are not alone in their struggle."—Lynda Jones, Black Issues Book Review

"Jacob solicited works from teens across the country, writing thousands of letters to friends, English teachers and social organizations. The result is a stirring collection of essays and poems detailing the coming-of-age experiences of a diverse group of young women identified by name, age and ethnicity. Jacob and company tackle such issues as interracial friendships, poverty, oppression and family . . . All are important and will resonate with teens and their parents, teachers and mentors."—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Iris Jacob

Iris Jacob is an eighteen-year-old biracial female with a strong commitment to diversity issues. She has been a student facilitator at numerous diversity conferences, has started affinity groups for students of color and women at her high school, and codirected a youth leadership institute addressing topics of oppression, prejudice, and awareness.