From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun

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Fourteen-year-old Melanin Sun's comfortable, quiet life is shattered when his mother reveals she has fallen in love with a woman.

Fourteen-year-old Melanin Sun's comfortable, quiet life is shattered when his mother reveals she has fallen in love with a woman.

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From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun

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Fourteen-year-old Melanin Sun's comfortable, quiet life is shattered when his mother reveals she has fallen in love with a woman.

Fourteen-year-old Melanin Sun's comfortable, quiet life is shattered when his mother reveals she has fallen in love with a woman.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Woodson's (I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This) perceptively wrought novel imaginatively tackles such weighty issues as racism and sexuality. At age 13, Melanin Sun, an African American boy growing up in Brooklyn with his single mother, sometimes longs for the days when life was as ``simple as chocolate cakes and Lego sets.'' Instead, his feelings grow more complicated after his mother explains that she is gay and in love with Kristin, the white woman whom she has recently invited home. ``You're a dyke! A dyke!'' he screams at her, enraged. His shock and sense of alienation are quickly exacerbated when the neighbors begin to gossip and he becomes the object of cruel taunts. Through Melanin's voice, Woodson frankly expresses the resentment and confusion of an adolescent desperately struggling to reestablish normalcy. She shatters stereotypes even as she evokes the tenderness of a mother/son relationship. Offering no easy answers, Woodson teaches the reader that love can lead to acceptance of all manner of differences. Ages 12-up. (May)
The ALAN Review - Darien Fisher-Duke
"`What time is it?' I asked Mama.`Your growing time,' she replied." Melanin Sun's family consists of him and Mama alone. Mel finds that "the world turns upside-down when you are thirteen-going-on-fourteen." His notebooks detail anger, confusion, and denial as Mama introduces him to an important person in her life. Mama loves a woman, a white woman from another world, or so it seems to Mel. Issues of sexual identity and race are presented in a believable and honest manner. The diary entries are interspersed with dream meditations, and the dialogue maintains an engaging pace. Woodson's prose is lyrical; and, with the exception of Mama's friend Kristin, her characters are alive. Teens will respond to Mel's search for himself. This universal search often involves the discovery that you can understand, or at least accept, others as you come to know yourself.
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Melanin, a young African-American protagonist, must deal with his mother's revelation that she is a lesbian, and that her lover is white. He finally comes to terms with her relationship and reveals his thoughts and feelings to the readers through his notebooks, which also reveal his talent as a writer.
School Library Journal
Gr 7-11-Fourteen-year-old Melanin Sun has a lot to say-not out loud, but in notebooks he keeps. Named for his dark skin, he knows about being on the outside of things. ``Difference matters,'' he writes early on. What follows is not the ususal identity crisis, however. His mother, a law student who sometimes acts more like a best friend, tells him she's in love with a woman-a white one, at that. His reaction is negative, strong, and hurtful. Nonetheless, at the end, Melanin seems to have sorted out his feelings-slowly, believably-and recognized in his mother and her lover a vulnerability he feels himself for other reasons. He comes around because of who he is, not because it's the ``right'' thing to do. Woodson has made Melanin an affecting and memorable, even admirable, character. Once thought ``slow'' in school because of his reticence, he is in fact a well-read, gifted young man with a talent for writing. The author effectively alternates excerpts from his notebooks-the thoughts intended for his own eyes only-with first-person descriptions of the action. Unfortunately, neither the cover nor the title will draw kids in; the book will need introduction and perhaps booktalking.-Claudia Morrow, Berkeley Public Library, CA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142416419
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 7/8/2010
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 967,049
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.26 (w) x 5.70 (h) x 0.45 (d)

Meet the Author

Born on February 12th in Columbus, Ohio, Jacqueline Woodson grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and Brooklyn, New York and graduated from college with a B.A. in English. She now writes full-time and has recently received the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults. Her other awards include a Newbery Honor, two Coretta Scott King awards, two National Book Award finalists, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Although she spends most of her time writing, Woodson also enjoys reading the works of emerging writers and encouraging young people to write, spending time with her friends and her family, and sewing. Jacqueline Woodson currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2005

    i think this book is great!

    when i first looked at the book i knew it was going to be interesting from the very start because its written by my favorite author.i think this book is so good and i got very sad at the end but it's got a great lesson to it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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