The year 2012 marks the seventieth anniversary of Executive Order 9066, and Children of Manzanar serves as a very personal view of this bleak chapter in American history, when Japanese bloodlines overshadowed American birthrights. It is a moving account of the battle between oppression and the strength of the human spirit.
Immensely Readable and Entertaining
I read Rose Hill in two sittings. Actually, I read the second half on a plane ride and was so engrossed that we the normally boring trip went by quickly.
I was motivated to read the book after hearing Carlos Cortés twice speak at conferences of the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME). I got to meet and talk with him and found him to friendly and fascinating. Unfortunately, in academia it is not uncommon to find scholars and authors to be self-absorbed. Dr. Cortés was engaging and very personable. I use his award-winning textbook – The Children Are Watching: How the Media Teach about Diversity in my teaching.
Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that he had written such a personal recount of his life, describing what is was like growing up part Mexican American, part Jewish in the era of segregation. Rose Hill is painful to read at times as he describes his upbringing, almost like intruding into a family argument and wincing at what you hear. But I could not put it down. His recollections of his life should resonate with anyone who has struggled to understand their own upbringing. In the courses that I teach on multicultural education, my students often have great difficulty writing about their cultural identities and understanding the cultural lives of their students. Unfortunately, many teachers, trying to help students connect with their culture often do not know to put it into words. Rose Hill will forever be on my course reading lists as an example of someone who has succeeded in not only grasping an understanding of the influences in life but being able to put it into words that others can understand.
Page after page the reader develops a better understanding of the author, almost like a confidant. Once done, you feel you know the man. Carlos Cortés has shared with us intimate details of his life. He has demonstrated the importance of discovering who you are and understanding why. One becomes motivated to write their own story. Carlos Cortés shows us how it is done.