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When a young Montana boy and his family move to Japan, he faces the challenges of moving, learning a new language and adapting to a new culture. Eventually, though, he meets new friends and begins to enjoy living in Japan. One day, however, when he tells his father about another boy at school calling him "half," he learns a lesson he'll never forget. Rod Gottula's children's book Double! Not Half. is a slightly fictionalized account of several conversations he had with both his children and his students while he was living and teaching in Japan. All too often, people of mixed races or cultures are referred to as "half," a term which fails to take into account the tremendous beauty and sophistication that accompanies those who "walk in two worlds." By emphasizing the positive aspects of speaking TWO languages and having TWO cultures, however, Double! Not Half. aims to increase the reader's understanding of cultural diversity and the benefits that come with it. Rod Gottula's book, Double! Not Half. contains a beautifully simple message of inclusion that fosters an appreciation for the value and potential that lies within every human being. Furthermore, the book's illustrator, Arthur Lin, utilizes the warmth of his water colors to create an authentic cultural experience that brings the story to life.
Rod Gottula, author of Double! Not Half., grew up in Shepherd, Montana, studied English Literature and Philosophy at Rocky Mountain College in Billings and earned his M.A. in Linguistics on his way to becoming a National Board Certified Teacher of English Language Arts and a high school administrator. Having lived and taught overseas, Rod's four years on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program fueled his passion for helping young people experience the wonders of other cultures and the beauty of everyday folks in different lands. Whether sharing Montana with the world or marching off into the world with Montanans, he takes joy in learning and seeing something a little bit new. His hobbies include reading, writing, struggling to play the guitar, and an occasional evening of imbibing and karaoke. Rod and his wife, Rie, have two children and are constantly nagging them to study more and make the most of their bilingual and multicultural opportunities. Double! Not Half. is dedicated to their journey.