Like Vanessa

Like Vanessa


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781580897778
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Publication date: 03/13/2018
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 121,199
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 10 - 14 Years

About the Author

Tami Charles is a former teacher and full-time author of picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, and nonfiction. As a teacher, she made it her mission to introduce her students to all types of literature, but especially diverse books. While it was refreshing to see a better selection than what she was accustomed to as a child, Tami felt there weren’t nearly as many diverse books as she’d hoped for. It was then that she decided to reignite her passion for writing. Tami is the author of the middle grade novel Like Vanessa (2018) and the picture book Freedom Soup (Candlewick Press, 2019).

Read an Excerpt

Fifty Stinkin’ Years

Excerpted from "Like Vanessa"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Tami Charles.
Excerpted by permission of Charlesbridge.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Customer Reviews

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Like Vanessa 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Suze-Lavender More than 1 year ago
It's 1983 and Vanessa Williams is crowned Miss America. For thirteen-year-old Vanessa Martin this is a great milestone, Vanessa Williams is her number one example. Vanessa wants to be just like her idol and is thrilled women of color finally have a chance to win. To make matters even better, her high school is hosting a beauty pageant. Vanessa doesn't think she'll stand a chance though. She doesn't have beautiful clothes, her father doesn't want his daughter to have anything to do with pageants and her grandfather is supportive, but he's also an alcoholic struggling to stay sober enough to keep the household going. They can barely make ends meet. Vanessa's teacher sees something in her pupil and doesn't give up, she encourages Vanessa to enter until she says yes. While preparing for the pageant Vanessa makes some life changing discoveries. There's a family secret she's trying to uncover, she learns what friendship really means and that it's all right to let someone be kind to you every once in a while. She also discovers the true meaning of beauty and therefore her confidence is starting to grow. She has a long way to go, but starts to think that maybe signing up for the school's beauty contest hasn't been such a bad idea after all. Is she right and will it bring Vanessa something positive and worthwhile? Like Vanessa is a fantastic story about self-worth, beauty, family, friendship and opportunities. Vanessa is a sweet girl. She doesn't feel good about herself though. She has a magical voice, but she doesn't like to be in the spotlight, so she never lets herself shine. She hides behind oversized clothes and doesn't know how gorgeous she really is, because she thinks she isn't slim enough and her skin isn't light enough. She tries to be someone she's not before discovering that the person looking at her in the mirror is actually worth getting to know. She's incredibly special, she just has to start recognizing her own capabilities, she's kind and pretty, she writes stunning poetry, she can sing and she's super smart. She has the looks, the voice and the brains, she just has to start believing in them. Every step of her journey is fabulously described and I was eager to find out more about the contest, Vanessa's choices and her ambitions. She has such a lovely bright personality, she's a main character that will always have a place in my heart. Tami Charles skillfully describes what it's like for Vanessa to deal with family issues, money problems and a lack of self-confidence. Vanessa slowly gets the tools to make some changes in her life. She's a smart girl with plenty of talents and she doesn't see how amazing she is. I kept hoping she'd discover that she's as beautiful on the outside as she is on the inside and that she'd find some much deserved happiness. I was rooting for this marvelous girl the entire time I was reading her story. I love how Tami Charles makes her main character come to life and greatly admired both her abilities to show every single layer of Vanessa's character and the personality itself. Like Vanessa is a brilliant book that will stay with me for a long time.
Anne_Broyles More than 1 year ago
What was it like for young African-American girls to see Vanessa Williams crowned Miss America in 1983? Charles, drawing from her own beauty pageant experience, gives us 13-year-old strong, believable Vanessa (“Nessy) who wants top dream big, but can’t imagine her own darker-than-Williams’ skin will ever be considered beautiful. She deals with a physically absent mother and an emotionally-absent father, the struggle to survive on limited resources, middle grade friends and enemies, racism, and all the usual middle school self-doubt. I love Nessy’s big heart, the way she grows and changes and is always supported by a loving grandfather and cousin. Young readers will appreciate her efforts to accept herself as she works toward winning her middle school beauty pageant.