The Washington Post
When the Black Girl Singsby Bil Wright
Lahni Schuler is the only black student at her private prep school. She's also the adopted child of two loving, but white, parents who are on the road to divorce. Struggling to comfort her mother and angry with her dad, Lahni feels more and more alone. But when Lahni and her mother attend a local church one Sunday, Lahni hears the amazing gospel choir, and her life… See more details below
Lahni Schuler is the only black student at her private prep school. She's also the adopted child of two loving, but white, parents who are on the road to divorce. Struggling to comfort her mother and angry with her dad, Lahni feels more and more alone. But when Lahni and her mother attend a local church one Sunday, Lahni hears the amazing gospel choir, and her life takes an unexpected turn.
It so happens that one of Lahni's teachers, Mr. Faringhelli, has nominated her for a talent competition, and she is expected to perform a song in front of the whole school. Lahni decides to join the church choir to help her become a better singer. But what starts out as a way to practice singing becomes a place of belonging and a means for Lahni to discover her own identity. In this moving book, acclaimed author Bil Wright tells the story of one girl's search to find a home where she truly belongs.
The Washington Post
Wright (Sunday You Learn How to Box) grabs hold of hard-hitting issues in a realistic and poignant novel that fully commands the audience's attention. Fourteen-year-old Lahni Schuler attempts to come to terms both with her status as the only black student in a school for privileged girls and with the news that her white adoptive parents are separating. This heavily freighted narrative evolves into an inspiring story as Lahni discovers a talent for singing and hidden inner strength. Instead of further dramatizing the negative aspects of Lahni's situation, Wright focuses on his character's efforts to surmount them-a strategy that enables readers to feel empowered alongside Lahni. The other major characters-the passionate gospel choir director, Marcus Delacroix III, and the charismatic soloist, Carietta Chisolm-may look like "round, brown, salt and pepper shakers with hair, in blue robes with red satin stoles" the first time she sees them at the front of the church where they sing, but they practically jump off the page with their positive energy and purpose, further amplifying the novel's vivacious spirit. In the end, Lahni is still a work in progress-which, as Wright illustrates, is the point. Ages 12-up. (Jan.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Lahni Schuler is the adopted daughter of two loving parents. They are white. She is black. And they have always been a family. Then, Lahni's father decides he wants a divorce. Lahni's days are then spent comforting her distraught mother as her anger against her father grows. At school, things are just as complicated. Lahni has been nominated for a singing competition by her teacher Mr. Faringhelli. As part of the competition she will have to sing a song in front of the whole school. It is not something she is looking forward to doing, and Mr. Faringhelli will not take no for an answer. Caught up in these trying times, Lahni and her mother begin attending a local church. It is there that Lahni hears the church's amazing gospel choir. She soon joins. Not only does Lahni get the help she needs for the upcoming competition, she also finds a place where she can discover her own identity. This was an enjoyable read with all the twists and turns that are a part of life. Lahni's struggles are palpable, and the search for her identity is honest. The text comes alive with the vivid undertones of well-crafted scenery and characterization. The secondary and some tertiary characters are carefully rendered, and Lahni's first-person narrative actively pulls the reader into her world. This is a recommended read. Reviewer: Monserrat Urena
In her eighth-grade year at a private girls' school in Connecticut, African-American Lahni Schuler transitions from feeling like an outsider to achieving self-confidence and self-acceptance. Her adoptive, white parents are separating, and an intimidating white boy is harassing her. Selected to compete for a school music award, Lahni is reluctant to perform or to tell her distracted parents about the competition. When her mother takes her to an interdenominational church, Lahni is captivated by the soulful exuberance of the gospel singing of Carietta Chisholm. She joins the choir and responds to the vocal inspiration of the flamboyant, talented director and organist, Marcus Delacroix III. As Lahni finds her own musical voice, she also begins to accept her parents' divorce, and she confronts her stalker in an outburst of ethnic pride. Lahni is an appealing heroine. Her repartee with insensitive peers, her distress over parental discord, her candid self-assessments, and her attraction to African-American singing ring true. Her white friend, Katie, and a racially mixed cast of supportive adults help Lahni to express her true self. Readers will enjoy the distinctive characters, lively dialogue, and palette of adolescent and racial insecurities in this contemporary, upbeat story.
Gerry LarsonCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"Readers will enjoy the distinctive characters, lively dialogue, and palette of adolescent and racial insecurities in this contemporary, upbeat story."School Library Journal
"Without sugarcoating anything, Wright easily juggles the many issues found in the book with wit, compassion and humor. The writing is clear, succinct, and never condescending. The main characters are shown as multifaceted people with strengths and weaknesses effectively adding to the authenticity of the book."VOYA
"Lahni's clear, first-person narrative is so authentic, expressing Lahni's identity conflicts even as tension mounts to an exciting climax."Booklist
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- Product dimensions:
- 6.98(w) x 4.26(h) x 0.72(d)
- Age Range:
- 12 - 14 Years
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