NOTE: Author Claudia Kolker will be visiting our site to review your comments and questions, so please feel free to leave a message for her below! We’ll also be giving away a copy of The Immigrant Advantage to one lucky reader! For a chance to win please see entry details below.
The Immigrant advantage is part anthropological and sociological research, and part an American do-it-all mom’s journal about the tools she’s discovered for managing the craziness that is life. Here the author gives us a picture of her career as a journalist and life as a multicultural Latina who was looking for ways to simplify. She turns to bicultural and multicultural immigrant families for the answers upon realizing that their often seamless mixing of folk traditions and modern American customs have yielded positive results.
In the book, Kolker interviews friends, collegues and new connections about their cultural customs and lends her own research and personal observations to the mix. In the chapter on the Mexican cuarentena, she recalls her contentment in knowing that household duties following the birth of her twins wouldn’t have to be her sole responsibility. Instead, initiating a cuarentena meant that she would have a support system to rely upon.
The Immigrant Advantage is a modern multi-taskers guide to going back to basics. Better than that though, it’s a patch-work set of tools for weaving generations-old, fine-tuned traditions into our highly acculturated, fast-paced American homes. A better title might have been, “The Bicultural Advantage”. ;) Yes, I’m biased!
One thing is for sure though, recent immigrants are able to more easily carry on the traditions of their birth nations, while more acculturated biculturals (like my familia) struggle to grasp onto those roots and cultivate them for future generations. It’s a challenge that bicultural families live with everyday. How can we bring more of our language and traditions into our children’s lives? How do we instill the values that our parents and grandparents instilled to us? What is the secret recipe for success? Kolker touches on both the life simplifying element of old-school traditions and the benefits of mixing cultures to create new, more personalized traditions for embracing life’s challenges.
While the book switches between analytic and journalistic styles, I think it overall becomes a comfortable switch throughout. I found the stats and history behind social customs to be helpful and also enjoyed the personal tone of the interviews and stories. I think this was an interesting read and definitely a learning experience. It’s easily worth a read if you’re interested in bicultural and multicultural living or exploring the combining of modern and traditional customs. There are so many great insights and tidbits of cultural knowledge to take away.
In the book, you will find these eight customs up for discussion and examination:
- The Vietnamese Money Club
- The Mexican Cuarentena
- South Asian Assisted Marriage
- Korean and Chinese Afterschools
- West Indian Multigenerational Housholds
- Barrio Stoops, Sidewalks and Shops
- Vietnamese Monthly Rice
- The American Money Club (Kolker’s own experiment with the money club tradition among her peers)
Claudia Kolker has reported extensively from Mexico and Central America, as well as the Caribbean, Japan, India and Pakistan. A former Los Angeles Times bureau chief and member of the Houston Chronicle editorial board, she has also written for The Economist, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, O: The Oprah Magazine, Slate, and Salon. She lives in Houston with her family.
For The Immigrant Advantage, Kolker visited Korean and Chinese afterschools, West Indian multigenerational households in New Jersey, and Chicago’s “Little Village,” among others.
About the book: The Immigrant Advantage is a fascinating look into the lives of immigrant enclaves in the United States that we so seldom gain access to, and an inspiring exploration about how these customs can enrich our own lives. You may purchase a copy of this book at Amazon.com
This post is an official stop of The Immigrant Advantage Book Tour!
- October 24, 2011: Juan of Words
- October 25, 2011: Voto Latino
- October 26, 2011: Spanglish Baby
- October 27, 2011: Latinaish
- October 28, 2011: TikiTiki Blog
- November 1, 2011: Chicano Soul
- November 2, 2011: Motherhood in Mexico
- November 3, 2011: Atzlan Reads
- November 4, 2011: Multicultural Familia (You Are Here!)
FTC Disclosure: Multicultural Familia received a free copy of the book from the author as part of a book tour with Simon & Schuster, publisher of The Immigrant Advantage. The opinions expressed here are my own.
THE GIVEAWAY – LEAVE A COMMENT TO ENTER!
Leave a comment below telling us why you think you will enjoy this book or a question for the author of The Immigrant Advantage, Claudia Kolker.
Rules: Open to the US only. Giveaway ends on November 13, 2011 at 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be chosen by random.org and notified by email and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. The winner will also be posted on our Facebook page. By entering this giveaway, you agree to release Multicultural Familia of all liability. Good luck and thank you for entering our giveaway! :)
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