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The Other Half of My Heart

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  791 ratings  ·  169 reviews
The close relationship of a pair of biracial twins is tested when their grandmother enters them in a pageant for African American girls in this new story from Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award winner Sundee T. Frazier.

When Minerva and Keira King were born, they made headlines: Keira is black like Mama, but Minni is white like Daddy. Together the family might
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 8th 2010 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (first published June 3rd 2010)
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Children's Books About Multiples
19th out of 146 books — 38 voters
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20th out of 28 books — 11 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,599)
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Minni and Keira are twins that love spending time together and appreciate each other's uniqueness. Minni is shy, smart, and loves to volunteer, while Keira is outgoing, has dyslexia, loves gymnastics and fashion. However, there is one more unique trait that is different about them. Minni is white with straight, red hair and Keira is black with curly hair. Yes, they are actual biological twin sisters born to their black mother and white father. The girls have just turned 11 and their Grandmother ...more
I really wasn't sure what I was going to think about this book when I first started reading it. Twins Keira and Minerva (Minni) were going to leave Washington State to visit their Grandmother Johnson in North Carolina to participate in the Miss Black Pearl Pageant, which was a longtime family tradition. Minni was very sellf-conscious about entering a contest for black girls, however, because she had red hair and very fair skin. The girls' father was white and their mother was black. Grandmother ...more
Oct 21, 2010 Jess rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: juv
This is the kind of story about family and identity that I would recommend in a heartbeat to kids looking for that kind of story - one that takes childhood and sense of self seriously, adds in some humor and a reasonably compelling plot, and delivers a satisfying ending.

The story takes an interesting look at race by telling the story of twin girls, one who looks like their white father and the other who looks like their black mother. Whether or not these particular issues of race are ones that
Christine Clayton

Text to self- My best friend while growing up is bi-racial. Her mother was white and her father was black. We lived in a small community that was not very diverse, much like the community Keira and Minni live in. I didn’t pay any attention to our differences growing up; we were much more alike than different in my eyes. But as I have gotten older, I have often wondered if she noticed the differences. I think this book would be a great story for opening up dialog for all children regarding stereo
Sundee Frazier is the most thoughtful, kind, and honest person I know. And her newest book is an exploration of the two sides of her own self -- the outgoing and the shy. I think any writer can relate to that! And I think kids will relate to a sibling relationship that's tight and complicated and fraying a bit as the twins bump into the preteen years.

I felt I got inside Minnie, the lighter of bi-racial twins, and really felt her outsider/where do I belong pain. But I missed getting to know and u
Mary Ann
When do you talk with your children openly about race? Do you talk about noticing the color of someone's skin? I was fascinated last spring listening to Po Bronson, author of NurtureShock, talk to a group of parents about scientific research and implications for raising children. One of the topics he covered was how parents are doing a grave disservice to their children by trying to be "color neutral" and avoid discussions of race. As he writes in a column in Newsweek, "Ignoring the color of ski ...more
I was very conflicted about this book. I know there are not very many books for young readers that give such a sensitive perspective on race, and while I feel this could lead to some great, thoughtful discussions, there are also parts that cheapen the narrative. The fact that the twins are constantly looking for ways to demean and embarrass their grandmother really bothered me. Why couldn't Minni have great conversations with her grandmother in addition to Dr. Oliphant? I also had a hard time be ...more
Feb 04, 2011 sarah rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: kids
Fraternal twin girls are born parents of different races, and their appearances are vastly different: Minni has fair skin and red hairlike their dad, and Keira has darker skin and curly hair like their mother.

Although I was really interested in the plot, I felt like the writing was a bit didactic and unrealistic. I just couldn't reconcile the fact that the parents of the girls, who are very involved in their children's lives and have dealt with pretty painful race dynamics in their own marriage,
just_love_laugh_read :D
The book was well beautifully written and I like how the author puts a lot of metaphors and similarties to "imagine" the main character (Minni/Minerva) was trying to say.
For the ideas and purpose of this book, it deserves 5 stars. Unfortunately, the writing style made it hard for me to slog through. The point was so laboriously and painstakingly made that I started to get bored while reading what I think is ultimately a very important book. I would not hesitate in giving this book to a young, earnest reader, especially one who feels different on the inside or outside from everybody else (so, basically, every girl who ever existed). I just would be worried that s ...more
As close as any twin sisters can be, Minni and Keira, look just about as different as any two people can look. Keira, with her dark brown skin and kinky hair looks like her African-American mom, and Minni with her porcelain skin, red hair, and freckles looks like her Irish-American dad. Wherever they go, they are stared at, and wondered over, but what is most disturbing is how they are treated at times.

When the girls' maternal grandmother invites the girls to spend nearly two weeks with her in
Frazier, S. (2010). The Other Half of My Heart. New York: Delacorte Press.

Fiction choice - Contemporary Realistic Fiction

Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

This is a wonderful story about twin sisters, Minni and Keira King. These sisters are special because Keira is African American and Minni is white. The sisters are eleven and getting ready to start middle school. They have always had to deal with people not realizing they are sisters but thinking they are just friends. Each one has experienced the
Similar to Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything in It and The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond, The Other Half of My Heart is the story of an adolescent struggling with her identity. Minni King is fairer-skinned twin sister of Keira King and is deeply concerned with how she is perceived by others, and fears that she isn't "black enough."

Unlike Brendan Buckley, Minni seems fixate on her biracial heritage and readers are reminded of her fixation on every. single. page. Like Violet Dia
I don't really know what I think of this book yet. It started off cute and promising enough, but throughout I found myself mostly lacking sympathy for Minni and her plight. I understand she's a confused girl in an unusual circumstance, but nevertheless, I found myself unable to muster up much sympathy for her. I don't consider myself a huge social justice warrior, yet I just found her slightly whiny when she'd bemoan feeling left out being the only "white" girl among black people, and would comp ...more
I gave this book three stars because I liked it. What I thought was bad was at time it got boring because I'm not all that in to pageants. What I enjoyed was the funny parts like when Grandma Johnson farts in church and when Minni and Keira find out she snores. Although I like the funny part in the story I have to say my favorite part is when Keira wins the pageant because she beats the dreadful Alisha. My favorite character is Grandma Johnson because even though she's rude, she snores and that' ...more
Melissa Mcavoy
Two twin sisters with biracial parents enter the Miss Black Pearl preteen pagent.One sister appears Black the other frequently is perceived as White. Told from the paler sister's perspective the story deals with issues of prejudice and belonging. I respect and value the content and think the story will have kid appeal, but the writing was not as strong as I would have wished. Interesting to have two summer books about a biracial girls living in the Pacific Northwest-The Blossoming Universe of Vi ...more
A huge thank you to Louise for this recommendation! So much to think about while reading these pages. Twins Minni and Keira couldn't be more different on the outside - looks and personality. Minni shares many of her physical characteristics with her white dad while Keira shares many of her physical characteristics with her black mom. Minni is more shy while Keira is more outgoing. All of these distinctions come into play when the girls leave their home in Port Townsend, WA to spend a week in Ral ...more
Emily C.
When I saw The Other Half of my Heart, I knew it was going to be good. I also love books with a meaning behind their title, or cover, no matter how obvious it is. Obviously, The Other Half of my Heart is about friendship and family. And when I saw the cover, I knew it was about both… but also that a family doesn’t have to be one skin color.

This book really gave me some perspective in not only the struggle in race, but also the fact that these twins were born from the same mother and father, but
Apr 16, 2013 Heather rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: tweens
Minni and Keira King were born on a day when the sun and moon shared the sky, but that was not the only unique thing about their birth, they were considered one-in-a-million twins by the national news. Minni resembled their white father with fair skin, red hair, and blue eyes. Keira on the other hand, had traits closer to their black mother with dark curly hair, cinnamon-brown skin, and brown eyes. Minni always pictured her family as a chessboard whenever they walked side by side. Keira and Minn ...more
Jul 01, 2012 Heidi rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Grades 4th-6th
11 year-old biracial twins Minerva “Minni” and Keira King look like a chessboard: Keira is black like their Mama and Minni is white like their Daddy. Despite their physical and personality differences, these two sisters share a bond of the heart that goes deep. However, their close relationship is tested when they visit their Grandmother Johnson in North Carolina who has enrolled them to compete in the Miss Black Pearl of America Program. Shy, red-haired and pale-skinned Minni begins to understa ...more
Minnie and Kira are twin sisters and best friends. They are going to spend some time with their Grandma Johnson in North Carolina so they can participate in the Miss Black Pearl pre-teen program (not a pageant!). Kira is really excited about it, but Minnie is nervous and scared. When they get to North Carolina they are forced to confront racism. Even though Minnie and Kira are twins they look nothing alike. Minnie is tall, red-headed and white. Kira is short, curly-headed and black. Their mom is ...more
(from July 2010 SLJ)
Eleven-year-old twins Keira and Minni are used to the funny looks their “chessboard family” receives: Keira takes after their black mother and Minni takes after their white father. In spite of their differences in appearance and personality, the girls share a bond that they are convinced cannot be broken. When their maternal grandmother invites them to fly from their coastal Washington town to North Carolina so that she can enroll them in the Miss Black Pearl of America Progr
What really disappointed me was that the story was told entirely from Minni's perspective. I was expecting to hear from Minni and Keira, but instead we only receive Minni's side of the story. Sympathy can be roused for both characters and it's both painful and rewarding to see Minni finally get 'it', understand what it's like to be the ONLY ONE. However I felt that the book could have been much stronger if Keira also got to tell her part of the story, what was it like for her being in the majori ...more
Megan Alyse
"Other Half Of My Heart" was about mixed race twins, Minni and Keira, who are coming down to North Carolina to compete in the Miss Black Pearl Preteen of America, while juggling sisterly qualities and racism in the mix.

This book was NOT worth the time it took to read. I had to read it for school, and it came across to me as a book with many faults and few redeeming qualities. (Very few.)

First off, I am not racist. But this book instilled a sense of racism for me . . . to Caucasians. Only African
3.5. From the description of this book, I thought it would be primarily about Minni, the twin who appears white, learning what it was like to experience prejudice and to recognized her own white privilege when she and her darker-skinned twin sister visit their grandmother in North Carolina to participate in a "Miss Black Pearl" pageant. Much of the book, though, focused on the girls' relationship with their grandmother, who prefers Minni to Keira because of her lighter skin; Minni's understandin ...more
Stephanie Jewett
Minnie and Kiera are bi-racial twins- Minnie looks like their daddy, with pale skin, blue eyes, and red hair, while Kiera looks like their momma, with dark skin and kinky black hair. Minnie narrates the story, in which the sisters travel from their home in Washington state to North Carolina to spend a couple of weeks with their maternal grandmother (whom they don't like very much) and to compete in the Miss Black Pearl competition. The sisters are best friends, but the experience begins to strai ...more
Dec 05, 2012 Ed added it
Frazier, Sundee T. (2010). The Other Half of My Heart. New York: Random House/Delacorte Press. 304 pp. ISBN 978-0-385-73440-0 (Hard Cover); $16.99.

Minerva and Keira King are twin sisters. They love each other as only twin sisters can. Minni is white and Keira is black—and they are competing against each other in the Miss Black Pearl Preteen of America pageant.

Frazier explores race in an extremely creative and thought-provoking way in this novel. The fundamental and notable question that it addre
Becky Birtha
With biracial twin nieces in my family, and also knowing another set of biracial twins who more closely resemble the girls in the book, I was very curious about Sundee Frazier’s The Other Half of My Heart. I was glad, in the end, that I stuck with it. The story is told (in third person) from the point of view of one twin, Minni, who takes after their (white) father in looks. Of the two, Minni’s more intellectual, shyer, less self confident, and tries harder to please. Her sister Keira, who, in l ...more
The Other Half of My Heart really makes you thing about belonging and identity and family. Keira and Minni are twins from a biracial family: Mama is Black and Daddy is White. You would assume the twins would be born with skin color somewhere in between the two, but no. Keira is born with brown skin, black curly hair and brown eyes and Minni is born with white skin and freckles with light eyes and red hair. They are stared at wherever they go, with people wondering if one is adopted or if they ar ...more
The Other Half Of my heart by Sundee T. Fraizer is a delightful book that you will not want to put down. This story is about the importance of seeing with your heart and not looking at everything with your eyes. Also this story shows the importance of not letting the little things in life get between an important relationship. Minnie and Kiera are twins and nothing can separate them. These aren't just any twins,one is black and one is white. Minnie always says these are just eight silly genes an ...more
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Battle of the Boo...: The Other Half of My Heart by Sundee Tucker Frazier 1 1 Oct 25, 2014 08:34PM  
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