Jean Davies Okimoto

Talent Night

Winner of the Parents Choice Award

A humorous contemporary novel of a bi-racial teen and his search for identity.

"A story of ethnic pride, first love and determination to overcome stereotypes. Okimoto's talents gives this book the same wide appeal as her earlier titles Jason's Women and Molly By Any Other Name."
—School Library Journal

"A celebration of diversity."

From The ALAN Review - Darien Fisher-Duke:
Rodney Suyama has a lot on his mind. Will he find the courage to enter the school talent show? If he does, will people accept an Asian rapper? Rodney dreams of the beautiful Ivy and how he could comfort her if she would break up with her football player boyfriend. A visit from rich Uncle Hideki might mean a financial windfall - if the Suyama family is traditional enough for him. Okimoto, author of Molly, By Any Other Name, again explores the confusion of growing up and the additional feelings that come with a minority heritage. Family members play an important role in Okimoto's books, as they struggle to come to terms with changing relationships. Molly herself makes a brief appearance in this book, and readers who enjoy reading about Molly are sure to like Rodney too. The plot doesn't contain many surprises, but humor and empathy will engage the reader.

From School Library Journal:
Gr 7-10-A fast-paced, humorous story of ethnic pride, first love, and determination to overcome stereotypes. Senior Rodney Suyama (he's half-Polish, half-Japanese) has two goals: to become a famous Asian-American rap star and to date beautiful Ivy Ramos. Talent Night at his high school in Seattle and a possible inheritance from his Japanese uncle from California may give him the chance to realize his first dream. In order to receive cash from their uncle, however, Rodney and his sister Suzanne must convince the stuffy, narrow-minded older man that they have an interest in their Japanese heritage. Rodney must also overcome the stereotype that only Blacks can be rap singers. Winning Ivy (she's half-Black, half-Filipino) away from the star football player proves to be a challenge. When the two are assigned a school project together, a friendship grows and Ivy encourages Rodney's musical goal, eventually becoming part of his Talent Night act. References to local landmarks will please Seattle readers, but Okimoto's talents as a contemporary YA writer gives this book the same wide appeal as her earlier titles, Jason's Women (Little, 1986) and Molly by Any Other Name (Scholastic, 1990; o.p.).-Judy R. Johnston, Auburn High School, WA