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Not Your All-American Girl

Mrs. Tyndall says Lauren doesn’t look “American” enough to be the lead in a play set in Pleasant Valley, USA – but Lauren’s blonde best friend, Tara, looks perfect. Things are about to get a lot less pleasant at Dwight D. Eisenhower Junior High.
 
This is a companion novel to This is Just a Test.
Ages 10+
Pages 256
Publisher Scholastic
Coming Feb 2021

Average Rating

96 Reviews
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What the Book Is About

Lauren’s a talented singer who dreams of being on Star Search. She does a great audition for the school musical, All-American Town, and everyone thinks she should get the lead. But the teacher says Chinese-Jewish Lauren doesn’t look “American” enough for the role and gives it to Lauren’s best friend, Tara, relegating Lauren to the ensemble. Tension grows between the friends, and Lauren finds it difficult to continue in the play, but she finds solace in the music of Patsy Cline plus a new button-making business. Eventually, the girls work together to make things right both on and off the stage.

Jewish Content & Values

  • Lauren is Chinese and Jewish, and throughout the book it’s clear that both cultures are important to her. She goes to Hebrew school, her Jewish grandmother is called Savta, and her brother, David, has already had a bar mitzvah.
  • Lauren’s family celebrates Shabbat (Sabbath) with dinner on Friday night and temple on Saturday morning. There is a reference to Hanukkah and a scene with a Passover seder. In one scene, they meet Rabbi Doug in the store, and he tells Lauren that she can find ways to feel spiritual even when she has to miss Hebrew school for play rehearsals.

Positive Role Models

Lauren educates her well-meaning but uninformed white friends about racism and helps them become better allies against racism. Later, she takes a risk to show others that “looking American” doesn’t have to mean having blond hair and blue eyes. Even though she is rightly upset that she didn’t get the lead role in the musical, she takes part in the ensemble out of loyalty to her friend.

Content Advisory

None.

Talk It Over

Mrs. Tyndall gives the lead in the play to Lauren’s best friend and assigns Lauren a non-speaking part in the ensemble. Even though the situation is unfair and upsetting, Lauren joins the ensemble in order to support Tara. What would you have done if you were in Lauren’s position, and why?

More for You

In 1980s Virginia, the setting of Not Your All-American Girl, Jewish Asian-Americans were few and far between. Today, there are growing numbers of Jewish Asian-Americans in the public eye nationally, including Jewish-Korean Rabbi Cantor Angela Warnick Buchdahl of Central Synagogue in New York City, Jewish-Korean National Book Award Winner Susan Choi, and Jewish-Vietnamese comedian Joe Nguyen.
What the Book Is About

What the Book Is About

Lauren’s a talented singer who dreams of being on Star Search. She does a great audition for the school musical, All-American Town, and everyone thinks she should get the lead. But the teacher says Chinese-Jewish Lauren doesn’t look “American” enough for the role and gives it to Lauren’s best friend, Tara, relegating Lauren to the ensemble. Tension grows between the friends, and Lauren finds it difficult to continue in the play, but she finds solace in the music of Patsy Cline plus a new button-making business. Eventually, the girls work together to make things right both on and off the stage.

Jewish Content & Values

  • Lauren is Chinese and Jewish, and throughout the book it’s clear that both cultures are important to her. She goes to Hebrew school, her Jewish grandmother is called Savta, and her brother, David, has already had a bar mitzvah.
  • Lauren’s family celebrates Shabbat (Sabbath) with dinner on Friday night and temple on Saturday morning. There is a reference to Hanukkah and a scene with a Passover seder. In one scene, they meet Rabbi Doug in the store, and he tells Lauren that she can find ways to feel spiritual even when she has to miss Hebrew school for play rehearsals.

Positive Role Models

Lauren educates her well-meaning but uninformed white friends about racism and helps them become better allies against racism. Later, she takes a risk to show others that “looking American” doesn’t have to mean having blond hair and blue eyes. Even though she is rightly upset that she didn’t get the lead role in the musical, she takes part in the ensemble out of loyalty to her friend.

Content Advisory

None.

Talk It Over

Mrs. Tyndall gives the lead in the play to Lauren’s best friend and assigns Lauren a non-speaking part in the ensemble. Even though the situation is unfair and upsetting, Lauren joins the ensemble in order to support Tara. What would you have done if you were in Lauren’s position, and why?

More for You

In 1980s Virginia, the setting of Not Your All-American Girl, Jewish Asian-Americans were few and far between. Today, there are growing numbers of Jewish Asian-Americans in the public eye nationally, including Jewish-Korean Rabbi Cantor Angela Warnick Buchdahl of Central Synagogue in New York City, Jewish-Korean National Book Award Winner Susan Choi, and Jewish-Vietnamese comedian Joe Nguyen.