Higher Education

Crossing Cultures: Readings for Composition, 7th Edition

  • Annie Knepler University of Illinois, Chicago
  • Ellie Knepler
  • Myrna Knepler Northeastern Illinois University, Emeritus
  • ISBN-10: 061891806X  |  ISBN-13: 9780618918065
  • 416 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2003
  • © 2008 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $109.50



This multicultural reader uses engaging selections to introduce students to the wide variety of cultures in the United States. Organized by themes such as Education, Growing Up, and Families, the collection provides thought-provoking material for class discussion as well as compelling ideas for writing. Straightforward pedagogy includes exercises that help students to analyze both the content and style of each reading, as well as writing prompts that serve as essay assignments or in-class writing activities. Reading selections in Crossing Cultures vary in length and difficulty to provide suitable material for both less experienced and more sophisticated student readers and writers. Each unit opens with a short, often personal piece and then proceeds with progressively more difficult selections. Concluding each unit, a poem provides an alternate way to explore the unit theme.

Features and Benefits

  • An introduction to critical reading provides clear guidelines for improving reading and comprehension skills.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Reading and Thinking Critically
I. Growing Up
Gary Soto, The Jacket
Harry Mark Petrakis, Barba Nikos
Maxine Hong Kingston, Girlhood Among Ghosts
Emiene Shija Wright, Saying Something in African
Maria Laurino, Scents
Vendela Vida, Bikinis and Tiaras: Quinceañeras
Countee Cullen, Incident
II. Education
Daniel Meier, One Man's Kids
Sherman Alexie, Indian Education
Maya Angelou, Graduation
Cheri Register, The Field Trip
Mike Rose, I Just Wanna Be Average
Marcus Mabry, Living in Two Worlds
Lisa Delpit, No Kinda Sense
Aurora Levins Morales, Class Poem
III. Families
Dan Savage, Role Reversal
Stephanie Coontz, Where Are the Good Old Days?
Ginia Bellafante, Courtship Ideas of South Asians Get a U.S. Touch
Alfred Kazin, The Kitchen
Amy Harmon, Love You, K2a2a, Whoever You Are
Theodore Roethke, My Papa's Waltz
IV. Working and Spending
Kristin Kovacic, "Proud to Work for the University"
Barbara Brandt, Less Is More: A Call for Shorter Work Hours
Lars Eighner, On Dumpster Diving
Elizabeth Grossman, High-Tech Wasteland
Clive Thompson, Meet the Life Hackers
Martín Espada, Who Burns for the Perfection of Paper
V. Defining Ourselves
Gish Jen, An Ethnic Trump
Robin D.G. Kelly, The People in Me
Roxane Farmanfarmaian, The Double Helix
Nicolette Toussaint, Hearing the Sweetest Songs
Judith Ortiz Cofer, The Myth of the Latin Woman: I Just Met a Girl Named María
Malcolm X, Hair
David Leonhardt, The College Dropout Boom
Pennie Holmes-Brinson, Time Stood Still Again
VI. American Encounters
Michel Guillaume St. Jean de Crèvecoeur, What Is an American?
Brent Staples, Night Walker
Piri Thomas, Alien Turf
Walter White, I Learn What I Am
Bharati Mukherjee, Two Ways of Belonging in America
Anton Shammas, Amérka, Amérka: A Palestinian Abroad in the Land of the Free
Malcolm Gladwell, Black Like Them
Dwight Okita, In Response to Executive Order 9066: All Americans of Japanese Descent Must Report to Relocation Centers
VII. Home and Away
Pico Iyer, Home Is Every Place
Rachel Louise Snyder, My Lai, Thirty Years After
Uzodinma Iweala, A Close Encounter
David Sedaris, Picka Pocketoni
Gloria Anzaldúa, To live in the Borderlands means you...
VIII. Communicating
Gloria Naylor, The Meaning of a Word
Amy Tan, Mother Tongue
Rasma Haidri, Urdu, My Love Song
Geraldine Brooks, Unplugged
Alexis Bloom, Switch on Bhutan
Rob Walker, The Hidden (In Plain Sight) Persuaders
Lisel Mueller, Why We Tell Stories
Author/Title Index

What's New

  • New! The Seventh Edition incorporates fifteen new reading selections, including the classic "The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down," by Anne Fadiman.
  • New! "Americans Abroad," a new unit including both classic and contemporary readings about the experiences of American travelers in unfamiliar cultures, includes selections by Mark Twain, Henry James, David Sedaris, and Paul Theroux.
  • New! Synthesis activities at the end of each unit prompt students to draw connections between two or more readings.


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the main title. Select the main title's "About" tab, then select "What's New" for updates specific to title's edition.

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Instructor Supplements

Online Instructor's Resource Manual  (ISBN-10: 0547006055 | ISBN-13: 9780547006055)